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Top apps: Games for Kids – Post-Bulletin

The following games for kids encourage artistry, language skills, motor skills and imagination.

Alphabet Puzzles Games Kids & Toddlers free puzzle (Free) This app uses sound cues and visuals to help your child complete puzzles while learning the alphabet. (Mobilewalla Score: 96/100)

Coloring book: games for kids boys & girls free 1+ (Free) This app contains a coloring book and a screen on which kids can draw their own pictures. (Score: 94/100)

Baby Flash Cards Games & Kids Animal Sounds Free (Free) Toddlers will love this app, which teaches them about animals and vehicles using sounds, words and images. (Score: 93/100)

Little Kitten – My Favorite Cat (Free) No room for a kitten? Get your young child this virtual one to start. Little Kitten is adorable and loves to play with your kids. (Score: 91/100)

Little Dentist – kids games & game for kids (Free) Your child can have fun being the dentist with Little Dentist — even if he or she is afraid to go to one him- or herself. (Score: 85/100)

Rooplay (Free and Premium) A large quantity of engaging games are available, free, for kids with Rooplay; the whole catalog of 500 games comes with a subscription. (Mobilewalla Score: 94/100)

Toddler Kids Puzzles PUZZINGO (Free)* This app was designed to help toddlers (including special-needs kids) learn words and increase their dexterity. (Score: 93/100)

Preschool basic skills, shapes (Free) Your child can use this app to learn shapes, colors and numbers in English, Spanish, French and Italian. (Score: 91/100)

Toddler Animal Sounds (Free)* The developers of this app encourage you to use it with your young children to help them learn about animals and the sounds they make. (Score: 85/100)

My Town : Museum ($2.99)* Kids can explore beloved themes with this virtual museum, including space, dinosaurs, jousting knights and mummies. (Score: To new to rate)

* Available on both platforms.

Top apps are ranked by Mobilewalla, a search and discovery engine using technology to rank apps to help consumers navigate the mobile application marketplace.

Continued here:
Top apps: Games for Kids – Post-Bulletin

What Rime does better than anyone else, and how it led to me crying in a busy caf – GamesRadar

I found myself crying in the middle of a crowded cafe the other day. Id been trying to explain Rime to my girlfriend, and in summoning its final scenes I inadvertently hit a wellspring of lachrymosity. The look of polite bemusement she gave me matched my own utter surprise: I was physically weeping over a puzzle game, for goodness sake. In the two years prior, shed seen me cry exactly twice: once for good reason, and a second time towards the end of Titanic when the strings and images of people trapped in steerage got a bit too much. And now, suddenly, this. Rime is a powerful game.

Its also a very unusual, slow-burning, and I think, a misunderstood game. For the first two hours, a considerable passage of play, it runs the risk of losing the player completely by offering only occasional prosaic puzzles to complement its painterly Mediterranean looks. Without those clear blue skies, impossibly tall whitewashed towers, Salvador Dali landscapes and the growing sense of enigma all those elements create as you skip and leap around in them, there wouldnt be much to entice you further forwards. Certainly in my case, early on I was basically playing because it looked nice, and because the puzzles seem to be gradually building in complexity.

But something else is happening during that phase, too. Developer Tequila Works is deftly letting you know that all the symbolism in Rimes visual language isnt just art for arts sake. The dark figure. The fox. Those looming towers. The cape… Its all going somewhere. This is where Rime sets itself apart from the predominant school of thought in modern game storytelling, by simply trusting that youll notice and care about those motifs rather than making them explode or kiss each other in front of a forced camera.

Its a brave approach, because in Rime the story is the game. Hunting for lore tidbits in Dark Souls is an enjoyable diversion, but its far from the focus – theres always another oversized medieval knight to swear at just around the corner. Conversely, Rime exists to tell its story first and foremost. Its puzzles, really, exist to propel you along that story.

Environmental storytelling is quite literally as old as the hills, of course, and Im not suggesting Rimes the first video game to implement it. Dishonored 2 and What Became of Edith Finch are both fine recent examples of environmental storytelling. Closer to home theres Portal, a similarly wonderful puzzle/adventure game which says a lot about Rime by comparison. Valve uses narrative in Portal as connective tissue between puzzles which, once again, are the main attraction. They do so in a way that completely shatters expectations and transcends the trad puzzle game experience completely – but theres never any confusion as to why the game exists. Its so you can shoot portals into walls, and at floors, and do impossible jumps. Rime is the polar opposite: the puzzles exist only to entice the player further, and to tell the story.

But that still doesnt blow the dust away completely and expose Rimes singular quality. To do that, I must call upon M. Night Shyamalan. Please welcome him to the stage.

Shyamalans 2002 thriller Signs weaves a series of unusual character traits and unlikely happenstances into its main arc about a rural family under siege from an unknown invader, and as the movie progresses youre given to understand that theyll all become vitally important in the final acts grand reveal. 15 years on, and knowing Signs – knowing Shyamalan – cinephiles are now once bitten, twice shy about that technique and the likelihood that the grand reveal will be disappointingly on-the-nose, the unusual traits and unlikely happenstances too contrived.

Rime is not Signs, but there are parallels. It doesnt exist simply to shock you with a twist ending, but it does sew a lot of seeds early that dont come to fruition until the games almost over. And it certainly doesnt fall flat when it reveals itself, but by placing such enormous emphasis on its conclusion it runs the same risk Signs did. Thanks, M. Knight – youre dismissed.

With that first couple of subdued hours behind it, Rime finds a more confident pacing. Puzzles do grow in complexity, but they peak relatively early and never really reach that note-scribbling, alt-tabbing convolution of, say, Fez, or The Witness. The latter is an important distinction, actually: both games want to tell their story using their surroundings, but Jonathan Blow is very clear that the puzzles themselves are centre stage.

What Rime does instead is fold its symbolic elements increasingly into its puzzles, demanding strange, abstract rituals to be performed with light and darkness, and delighting in creating huge diversions. If there was any danger of leaving you unsatisfied with a lower difficulty level, its sidestepped in those moments you realise the door youre now walking through is the one you couldnt get past an hour ago.

The effect that has, I think, particularly for the brazenly stupid such as myself, is that it allows more brainpower for considering the surroundings. The synapses that would ordinarily in the genre be preoccupied with setting clock faces in a particular order to move water through some pipes, or some such Machiavellian nightmare, are freed up in Rime to keep asking the big questions: what is this island, and why am I on it? Who is the cloaked figure? Can I trust the fox? Are those moaning orbs on spindly legs sentient? The answers arent forthcoming, of course, but youre given plenty of time and space to ponder them.

Rime to keep asking the big questions: what is this island, and why am I on it? Who is the cloaked figure? Can I trust the fox?

In that way, its more like a walking sim played at running speed. Walking sims are, after all, games about the absence of something, and the search for meaning in that absence. Their imposed meditative pacing allows for a keener eye on the surrounding world and forces the narrative into sharper focus. Its just that walking sims usually dont give you much to do while the dour voiceover plays.

What if Rime isnt an adventure game, then, or even a puzzle game, but an extension of the walking sim which solves the genres problem of passivity? Theres no voiceover here, but that only serves as a strength: now the environment does all the talking.

Ive spent this whole time trying not to spoil the ending for you, and Ill mention it only in the broadest terms now: only after finishing Rime does it become clear that Tequila Works was absolutely counting on you to see the game through to completion. What an unusual and brave stance for a game developer. And what a shame it would be if the game wasnt rewarded for it.

Rime finds a way to tell you a story in a way that few have attempted and almost none have successfully realised, and it might make you sob in public places afterwards. Goodness, Im welling up even now – play me out, Mr Shyamalan:

So ‘The Last Airbender’ ‘s philosophy and culture feels like a beautiful idea to me: That we inherently have connections to the elements and what they teach us, and to each other.

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What Rime does better than anyone else, and how it led to me crying in a busy caf – GamesRadar

Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study – Toronto Sun


Toronto Sun
Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study
Toronto Sun
Brain training is not merely brain games on your computer, said neuroscientist Alan Leshner, chairman of the National Academies committee. The committee isn't backing those costly computer-based programs. Indeed, the U.S. government fined one brain …

and more »

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Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study – Toronto Sun

Senior Center News: June 22 – The Wilton Bulletin

Senior center program director Liz Doty leads a studio knitting class second and fourth Tuesday of the month beginning at 1.

Ever wanted to learn how to knit? This summer you have that golden opportunity and right in your own backyard. Studio knitting, defined as come and do your own thing, takes place on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month beginning at 1 at the senior center. Its an opportunity to grab those needles and yarn and start creating something from scratch. Various articles talk about how knitting relieves stress, slows cognitive diseases, improves motor function, eases anxiety, or boosts your memory. This may well be the case since these claims are preceded by studies have shown Or the benefits of knitting may well be a result of the laughing and camaraderie generated by participating in a common activity. Whatever the case, youre welcome to give it a try at the senior center. Contact Lizabeth Doty at 203-834-6240 for a pre-knitting consultation.

Sharpen your road skills and bring your driving knowledge up to date with the AAA Driver Improvement Program on Saturday, June 24, 8:30 to 12:30, at the Comstock Community Center. It is taught by Sgt. David Hartman of the Wilton Police Department.

Drivers 60 years and older who complete this course may qualify for a minimum 5% discount on their car insurance. Check with your insurer for details.

Register online by visiting aaa.com/driverimprovement or call AAA at 203-937-2595, ext. 8363 for more information.

Pharmacist Diane Corba will present a skin cancer prevention talk on Tuesday, June 27, 3 p.m., in the senior center lounge. Learn how to reduce your risk of skin cancer at any age by using good sun protection. The program is sponsored by Stay at Home in Wilton. It is free and open to the public.

Exercising your brain is a way to keep it sharp, but it cant do pushups. It can, however, play a game by solving riddles, trivia, and word puzzles.

Wilton Meadows Rehabilitation and Health Care Center and The Greens at Cannondale will treat seniors to lunch and brain games that are fun and an effective way to improve brain health. Thursday, June 29, noon, at the senior center. Call 203-834-6240 for reservations.

Friday, June 23, 10, Feldenkrais with Cathy Paine; 12, Bridge with Eleanor Mihailidis; 1:30, Intermediate Bridge with Michael Hess; 1:30, Free swim at the Wilton Y.

Monday, June 26, 10:30, Line Dance Fusion with Beatriz Araujo; 12, Movie; 1, Bridge.

Tuesday, June 27, 9:45, BeMoved with Phyllis Hirschfield; 10, Oil and Acrylics with Althea Ericksson; 11, Yoga with Denise OHearn; 12:30, Mah Jongg with Kay Chann; 1, Studio Knitting with Lizabeth Doty; 2, Chair Yoga at Ogden House; 3, Stay at Home in Wilton presents Connecticut pharmacist, Diane Corba, on skin cancer prevention.

Wednesday, June 28, 10, Open Bridge with Michael Hess; 10:30, Tai Chi with Joe Alampi; 1, Mah Jongg.

Thursday, June 29, 10, Yoga with Denise OHearn; 12, Lunch and Brain Games compliments of the Greens at Cannondale and Wilton Meadows at the Senior Center.

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Senior Center News: June 22 – The Wilton Bulletin

Library link – So Md News (subscription)

Twin Beaches branch

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 27, at the Northeast Community Center. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer storytime will be held from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, June 28, at the North Beach boardwalk behind the visitor center. These themed storytimes are for families with children of multiple ages and take place at different venues throughout the summer.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

MakePlayLearn will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29. The library will provide Legos and other building materials.

Fairview branch

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 2 to 3 p.m.. Tuesday, June 27, at Dunkirk Volunteer Fire Department. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

Prince Frederick branch

On Pins and Needles will meet from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 23. Bring your quilting, needlework, knitting, crocheting or other project for an afternoon of conversation and shared creativity.

Garden Smarter will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 24. Participants will learn to plant a food forest that is modeled after a forest ecosystem.

Construction Zone will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 24. The family can explore the librarys building sets.

Monday Morning Fun will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, June 26. The event includes dancing, stories, movies and fun.

Brain games will be held from 10 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Games will include Scrabble and Mahjongg. Register by calling 410-535-0291.

MakePlayLearn will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Children can drop by to play games, make crafts and art projects.

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

On Pins and Needles will meet from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 30. Bring your quilting, needlework, knitting, crocheting or other project for an afternoon of conversation and shared creativity.

Southern branch

Flying Needles will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 27. This knitting, crocheting and portable crafting group is open to anyone wanting to join in and share talents, crafting time or learn a new skill.

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 10 to 10:45 a.m.. Wednesday, June 28, at the Patuxent Appeal Campus Appeal building. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

Song Circle/Jam Session will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Singer-musicians can trade songs and take turns in choosing and leading a group of musicians. A range of playing abilities and experience can be expected. The public is welcome to participate or observe.

MakePlayLearn will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, June 29. The library will provide Legos and other building materials.

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Library link – So Md News (subscription)

An ideal match: The making of Star Wars: Puzzle Droids – Pocket Gamer.Biz

Star Warsis one of the biggest multimedia franchises in the world, so it’s no surprise that it also has a major presence in mobile gaming.

However, the mobile games based on the property have largely focused on the more core end of the sprectrum – Galaxy of Heroes is an RPG, Commander is a build-and-battle strategy game and Force Arenais a MOBA-style PvP effort.

That changed with the launch of Star Wars: Puzzle Droids, a matching puzzler with a narrative through-line, which couples the truly mainstream appeal of Star Wars with more approachable gameplay.

But how did the project come about and what are the challenges of building a match-three puzzler with a story that ties into such a beloved series?

To find out, PocketGamer.biz went behind the scenes on the development of Star Wars: Puzzle Droids with Producer Sean Coughlin.

PocketGamer.biz: How and when did the opportunity first arise for Genera Games to work on a matching puzzler with the Star Warslicense?

Sean Coughlin: Genera did a fantastic job with our teams other titles Frozen Free Fall and Maleficent Free Fall. Their high level of quality and expertise really drove the partnership forward.

Star Wars has massive appeal and we saw an opportunity to match Genera with this particular project due to their high production value mobile game studio.

Also, it doesnt hurt that the team members are huge Star Wars fans and were really passionate about the game project.

This not being a genre one would typically associate with the IP, how did you find an approach that feels satisfying to series fans?

Our goal was to reach a massive Star Wars fanbase, so we like to say that were aiming to bring Star Wars: Puzzle Droids into the hands of anyone who would wear a Star Warst-shirt.

While Star Wars is hugely known for great core gaming experiences, there arent any Star Wars mobile games that take a truly casual approach.

The delicate balance was to appeal to gamer fans and non-gamer fans alike. This is one of the primary reasons we chose to mix basic puzzle mechanics with more advanced ones.

Plus, by mixing in character and story moments, we feel that we were able to stay true to the Star Wars brand while allowing fans to explore a different genre.

It was important for us to stay true to Star Wars and to have an experience that anyone can play at anytime.

Was it a challenge to contextualise these references to the plot as part of satisfying, differentiated match-three stages? Does each demand a longer development process than your average match-three level?

Yes, absolutely.

Because we created a narrative-driven puzzle game, with the story told through the reconstructed memories of droids, it was really important that the puzzles, environments, characters and story beats change over time.

This is unlike other puzzle games, so it was a new experience and a new challenge. I believe our own Frozen Free Fall was one of the first to explore telling a full story through the concept of matching puzzles.

We used the learnings there, but also increased the production value significantly – Star Wars is after all known for being one of the highest production value franchises – by making fully 3D maps, characters, effects and environments.

The development process takes a little longer so we cant pump out as many new puzzles you might expect from a match-three game.

However, we believe that fans will continue to be engaged while we focus on developing these new experiences catered directly to them.

How big is the team on Star Wars: Puzzle Droids, and how long was the total development time?

The total development time since the initial concept has been around two years thus far, with full production taking place over the past year.

The core development team is around 20 to 30 people consisting of different types of artists, animators, engineers, designers, producers, marketers, analysts, etc.

However, since the involvement in this title comes from separate areas – Disney, Lucasfilm and Genera Games – it is honestly difficult to nail down the exact number of staff members who have contributed.

But somewhere around 200+ have contributed. Our credits are much longer than any other mobile puzzle game weve produced.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced during the development process?

The biggest challenge for me probably was selecting which great Star Wars moments to highlight.

We knew we wanted to start with BB-8 and Rey, due to the current trilogy. And we eventually end up at the Death Star for a stark contrast and because the moments in A New Hope are our favourite.

Each set of levels and each new update is treated as its own development cycle, so we know what we want to do months in advance.

Choosing the right thing for the game at the right time can be a difficult process.

How do you reflect on the game’s global launch? Are you happy with the reception thus far?

We received a lot of positive feedback on the launch from the app store comments and reviews.

We also previewed and demoed the game at Star Wars Celebration and had a really positive experience there.

Since launch, the game remains above a 4.5 star rating across all platforms, so, yes, I am pretty happy with the reception thus far.

Now, the difficult part remains of keeping our fans engaged by consistently delivering new, fun content.

What’s next for Star Wars: Puzzle Droids?

We will continue to develop and release new levels on the Death Star, while exploring other new features in order to keep the game fresh for a long time.

We love our fans and the feedback we receive, so please keep playing and continuing to tell us your thoughts. Stay tuned for more to come.

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An ideal match: The making of Star Wars: Puzzle Droids – Pocket Gamer.Biz

Form Review: VR Puzzling At Its Transformative Best – UploadVR

Making puzzles in VR better is, in itself, a conundrum. While coming under enemy fire might be all the more intense and caring for characters is easier, solving a rubiks cube inside a headset isnt exactly a more definitive gaming experience. Putting piece A into slot B isnt quite the revelation in VR that you might hope; you need to make something that truly stands apart from the years of puzzlers that have lined the path to this new medium. The genre needs its own Portal.

Form doesnt just run with that idea; it bends it, remoulds it, makes it bigger, lighter, more dramatic.

Set in an Alaskan research facility, this excellent debut from Charm Games casts you as Dr. Devin Eli, a physicist studying a strange supernatural artifact named The Obelisk. Though the game starts out in a cold laboratory, your environment soon morphs into the impossibly surreal and ever-changing landscape of your own mind, a place where your thoughts appear as comic book-like bubbles that you grab and throw away and puzzles present themselves in the most majestic and curious of ways.

Youll need to get used to the games sheer unpredictability. Forms puzzles usually boil down to simple and relatively easy tasks, but they come at you in fascinating ways. Small shapes hover in front of you before bleeding out into hulking tapestriesat the very touch of a finger, unexpectedly glorious sounds emit from the slightest movements, and dazzling light displays reward your successes. It is, quite literally, a transformative experience in which the smallest of actions has the most dramatic of effects upon your world.

Theres a real joy to just existing in Forms universein this way. Charm has done an excellent job realising something thats enriched by putting a headset on, concocting an uncanny atmosphere that really feels like youre exploring a strange new alien world.

It has architecture that you simply wont understand but nevertheless feels evolved and precious, as if youre there to preserve it just as much as you are to use it. Its soundtrack is fuzzy and revelatory, pushing a sense of pioneering discovery right the way through. You feel like the starry-eyed movie characters that have just uncovered lost civilizations or made contact with beings from another planet.

That tone carries through to the puzzles. Pretty much every challenge in Form starts with you picking up a strange alien artefact and wondering exactly what the heck it is. Indentations in panels reveal them to be tools with specific uses, and buttons and levers promise unexpected consequences with every interaction.

As I said, youll usually boil them down to simple challenges, many of which youve seen before. Memory-based sequences and object rearrangement isnt exactly groundbreaking, but its the sense of picking something ancient and prestigious up and interacting with it that carries the experience. Better yet, they all fit neatly inside the limitations of VR; the game is a standing experience that avoids even the slightest chance of breaking your immersion. Theres no walking around or ducking down, keeping you rooted to the spot means you never risk that trance-breaking wire tug or have to fiddle with your headset as it shifts around your face.

That said there are some highlights. Theres a great puzzle in which a web of holographic shapes must be correctly aligned in front of you, and certain lights reveal hidden objects essential for progression. Theres nothing here that will leave you stumped, certainly not for more than a few minutes, but the delivery makes it all a joy to solve.

What a shame, then, that its over all too quickly. I beat Form in less than an hour, and its credits rolled long before Id seen them coming. The short and sweet experience means nothing outstays its welcome, but it also feels like theres plenty more to explore here. Short VR experiences are quickly becoming the norm and thats fine, but the games pacing never suggested to me that I was nearing the end of my journey.

Form is a little too short and lacking in challenge for it to be considered a true classic, but it stands tall as a VR puzzler unlike any other. Theres an understanding of this new medium here that few developers have been able to demonstrate over the past year. Its atmosphere is dense and engaging and its puzzles capture a strong sense of discovery, resulting in a brilliant blend of gameplay and experience. The flood of VR puzzle games could learn a lot from the foundations that Charm Games has laid here.

Form is available now for $19.99. Check out these official review guidelines to find out more about our process.

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Form Review: VR Puzzling At Its Transformative Best – UploadVR

Win one of 100 Steam keys to play the first hour of beautiful narrative-puzzle game Aporia! – PCGamesN

Do games have too many words? If you think they do then Aporia: Beyond the Valley should be right up your street. It’s a first-person puzzle game that’ll be available for PC on July 19th, but there’s an hour-long demo you can play right now – all you have to do is enter our giveaway below.

Aporia tells its story without any words, instead asking you to piece together its narrative by exploring non-linear environments, each filled with a mystery played out through strange nature, ancient technology, and a spirit that haunts a fog-covered forest.

It’s made in CryEngine by Denmark-based studio Investigate North, which is chaired by Ole Sndberg, the producer of Wallander and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Through his work, Sndberg looks to drive the emerging genre of “Nordic Noir” forward. He’s done this through film and TV but now sees an opportunity to explore it with videogames.

In Aporia, this is seen in the game’s dark beauty, which hits you as soon as you wake after your centuries-long slumber in the abandoned land of Ez’rat Qin. You have no memories of your past but you’ll be able to gleam details of who you are from the natural environments and the ancient debris that populates it. The rest is for you to discover…

If you want to get your start in Aporia’s world then we have 100 Steam codes that’ll grant you an hour inside the game. If you want to win one of those codes then all you need to do is enter via our widget below. Every action you complete is worth one entry into the giveaway, and the more actions you complete the more chance you’ll have of winning. We’ll also need your email address so we can send you a code upon winning – we won’t send you spam, we promise!

Aporia giveaway

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Win one of 100 Steam keys to play the first hour of beautiful narrative-puzzle game Aporia! – PCGamesN

Play Chess For Your Soul In Chess Ultra – VRFocus

Best known as a videogames publisher rather than a developer, Ripstone Games has announced the launch of the first title to be entirely developed by its in-house development team; Chess Ultra.

The title will be heading to PC and console, with virtual reality (VR) versions available for PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift. Non-VR versions will also be released on Steam, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and the company have also announced that the title will be heading to the Xbox One X.

Ripstone Games have revealed that the AI for Chess Ultra was tested an approved by a chess Grandmaster. Single-player within VR consists of the player taking on The Grim Reaper, playing against Death himself to save their mortal soul. If players do well, Deaths eyes with light up with rage and lava will flow through the pits of Gomorrah where the chess duel is taking place. If the player loses, then Death claims their soul.

There are 10 Grand-master approved levels, with several modes including Classical, Blitz and Marathon, all of which feature several different styles of chess set to choose from. Cross-platfrom play between console and PC has been included, the allow for both local and online multiplayer, along with a ranking system. Over 80 chess puzzles have been included, and there are tutorials for players who are new to chess.

To support online play, Ripstone plans to hold official tournaments where users can either spectate or compete, using the full Twitch integration to allow players to show off how well (or how poorly) they perform against friends or the AI.

You can view the Chess Ultra launch trailer below.

VRFocus will bring you further information on Chess Ultra and other new VR titles as they become available.

Staff Writer at VRFocus who helps bring the news to your screens. Rebecca comes from a background in technology and computing and has been a gamer and console collector since the days of the Commodore 64. She also hosts a weekly gaming related radio show on RadioSEGA.

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Play Chess For Your Soul In Chess Ultra – VRFocus

Mobile gaming sessions down 10 percent year-over-year, but … – TechCrunch

The U.S. is leading the world in mobile gaming, accounting for 20 percent of all sessions played. Thats the word from a new industry report on the mobile gaming landscape, released this week from Flurry. That puts the U.S. ahead of markets including India, China, Brazil and Russia, it found. However, gaming sessions are dropping, even as the money to be made in games climbs, and the total time spent gaming remains largely unchanged.

According to the report, mobile gaming sessions are down 10 percent year-over-year. Thats even with the outsized hits like Pokmon Go gobbling up huge chunks of users time and attention.

This is not the first time Flurry has spotted a decline in gaming. In January, the firm reported it had seen a 4 percent drop in terms of the time spent in games (which is different from sessions, aka individual app launches). Meanwhile, messaging and social apps saw a 394 percent increase in time spent, Flurry had said.

Its also the second year in a row that gaming sessions have fallen year-over-year. This signals, perhaps, the ephemeral nature of mobile games, and the industrys reliance on addictive hits.

But it mainly speaks to specific declines in particular gaming categories. Three years ago, arcade, casual and brain games drove 55 percent of all sessions. In the time since, there have been substantial declines in both arcade and casual games, says Flurry. For example, arcade games accounted for 24 percent of all gaming sessions in 2014 a figure thats now decreased by 34 percent. And casual gaming sessions are down by 50 percent.

These two drops alone accounted for the overall downturn in gaming sessions, and no other gaming category stepped in to pick up the losses.

However, its not all bad news for mobile games. Though sessions may be down, the time spent in mobile games is largely unchanged its up by 1 percent over last year. That means users are participating in fewer, but just slightly longer gaming sessions than in the past.

Flurry didnt theorize why this could be, but its possible the Pokmon effect is one factor here, as is the fact that games themselves have matured. While there are still plenty of quickly played, disposable titles to be found, the App Store today also features beautifully made, more immersive games like Monument Valley 2, for example, which Apple itself even promoted during its WWDC event this month.

In the U.S., the average consumer is now spending 33 minutes per day in mobile games, with sessions that have increased to 7 minutes, 6 seconds this year, up from 6 minutes, 22 seconds in 2016. This is a big jump sessions never exceeded 6 minutes in either 2014 or 2015.

The gaming industry has also grown more diverse over the years. Sessions today are spread out across a large number of app categories. For example, card and casino games now account for 15 percent of all sessions, up 22 percent since 2014. Board and strategy games grew 29 percent since last year, and sessions are up 80 percent since 2014. And racing games grew 26 percent year-over-year, increasing its game app session share to 2.1 percent in 2017.

The full report digs into other trends as well like how tablets lead to longer average session times of 10 minutes, for instance, or when games tend to be played. Not surprisingly, mobile games on smartphones are popular during morning commutes, while tablets are more popular for on-the-couch gaming in evenings.

Gaming revenue is also still a bright spot. Flurry cited Sensor Towers recent report of a 53 percent year-over-year growth in revenue across iOS and Android,from $7.8 billion in Q1 2016 to $11.9 billion in Q1 2017, which it attributed to popular titles in Japan and China. In addition, download to revenue conversion is up 38 percent from January 2016 to January 2017, Sensor Tower had said.

That means the mobile gaming industry hold promise for developers looking to generate revenue. Meanwhile, future trends like VR or AR the latter aided by Apples release of ARKit could drive mobile gaming forward for years to come.

*Disclosure: Flurry is owned by Yahoo, which has been acquired by TechCrunchs parent company, Verizon.

Image credits: charts/graphs Flurry; mobile games Sensor Tower

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Mobile gaming sessions down 10 percent year-over-year, but … – TechCrunch


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