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Absurd Puzzle Adventure Game Maize Coming to PS4 and Xbox One in September – DualShockers

Finish Line Games, the developers of Cel Damage HD,announced today that its new absurdist first person adventure and puzzle game Maize would finally be hitting consoles, specifically the PS4 and Xbox One, next month on September 12.

The console ports of Maize will cost the same as the PC version, $19.99, when they launch in September. For those of you who dont know, Maize hit PC last December, and is an oddly unique adventure game game that has players goon an adventure involving sentient corn created by two scientists that accidentally misinterpreted a memo from the Government. In order to finish the game, players must solve a variety of environmental puzzles, all while a talking Russian robot teddy bear namedVladdy is following them. So yeah, its quite different to say the least.

The trailer, which clocks in at one minute and five seconds, is quite funny. In it, many of the games sentient corn creatures are attempting to use a controller, but the number of them that is needed to do so gets out of hand quite quickly.

You can check out the teaser trailer for the console versions of the game below. Maize is currently available on PC, and will launch on PS4 and Xbox One on September 12.

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Absurd Puzzle Adventure Game Maize Coming to PS4 and Xbox One in September – DualShockers

Young Marape shines in Zimbabwe – Mmegi Online

Marape (10) proved her mettle when she took part in a competition above her age category. She played in the Under-13 category and still proved too strong for her senior counterparts, bagging a gold medal.

Her performance meant she booked her space at the World Schools Individual Championships to be held in Durres, Albania in April 2018. Marape has also qualified to receive a higher international chess title, Woman FIDE Master.

Her coach and father, Marape Marape told Mmegi Sport yesterday that almost every player in the category was three years older than Naledi.

She has been the most consistent national youth player over the past three years. She is the fulcrum of the team and the only player to have won a medal at each of the past three African chess championships, he said.

Naledi was part of the team that was in a training camp with the Russian Grandmaster Nickolay Chadaey for three weeks before the competition in Harare.

The coach said the camp assisted the player a lot. He said in addition he made sure that everyday for four weeks prior to the Africa Schools Chess Championship, she had a daily schedule that included studying chess tactics, solving chess puzzles, end games, openings and middle game theory.

I made sure that

she fulfilled this schedule. Also as part of preparation for this tournament, I took her to Durban to take part in the South Africa Open Chess Championship in July. That tough tournament gave her the necessary practice, he said.

He said the time controls of South Africa Open Chess Championship and Africa Schools Chess Championship were the same but the standard of competition was different. He said despite the tough competition she faced in Durban, she brought home a medal.

Meanwhile, Botswana emerged as the champions of Africa Schools Chess Championship after collecting nine medals (three gold, three silver and three bronze). The hosts, Zimbabwe finished in the second spot with 10 medals (two gold, four silver and four bronze). Uganda anchored the log with two medals (one silver and one bronze). Other countries that competed at the championship are Kenya, Angola, Zambia and South Africa. Botswana Chess Federation spokesperson, Kutlwano Tatolo said the team was under the guidance of Chadaev. Botswana defended their title won last year.

Gold medals: Natalie Banda (Under 11 girls) and Temo Kapane (Under seven boys)

Silver medals: Susan Sethebe (Under-17 girls), Laone Moshoboro (Under-9 girls) and Hasitha Manikonda (Under-7 girls)

Bronze: Thabo Elias (Under-17 boys), Marape Marape Junior (Under-15 boys) and Arona Moshoboro (Under-11 girls).

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Young Marape shines in Zimbabwe – Mmegi Online

Google Play Indie Games Festival unveils 20 finalists – VentureBeat

Google Play announced the 20 finalists for its second annual Google Play Indie Games Festival. The festival celebrates Android mobile games by independent developers and will take place on September 23 in San Francisco at Spin, a restaurant and event space.

The event is free, and attendees will be able to play the games and vote for their favorites. A panel of industry judges will select three winners. Around 300 people showed up at last years event, and Google Play intends to continue to keep it small so that there are more opportunities for 1-on-1 conversation. The winners last year were all puzzle games: Bit Bit Blocks (Greg Batha), Numbo Jumbo (Wombo Combo), and Orbit Playing with Gravity (Highkey Games).

Android is now the most-used platform on mobile, which puts it in a good position to capitalize on a thriving mobile games market that market research firm Newzoo predicts could hit$65 billion in 2020. One of the main hurdles to success for mobile games and apps is discoverability; app stores are often saturated with new titles coming out every month. Google Plays been tackling the discoverability issue with initiatives such as the Free App of the Week section. The indie games festival pulls double duty in giving developers a chance to showcase their work as well as hopefully helping players find new games to play.

With so many games available on Google Play, its important that fans are able to find unique and great experiences from indie developers, said Kacey Fahey, Google Plays marketing programs manager, in an email. Indies are great at thinking outside of the box and are some of the first to adopt new features and platforms.

One of the finalists is Slayaway Camp by Blue Wizard Digital, a puzzle game that riffs on classic horror movies by having you murder teenage camp counselors as a masked serial killer named Skullface. Jason Kapalka, one of PopCap Games co-founders, says that starting Blue Wizard is a return to his indie roots with less bejeweling and more teenage decapitation.

Its definitely great to get more exposure for the game, said Kapalka in an email about Slayaway Camps nomination. The downside to the accessibility of the game market on mobile these days is that you have a lot of competition and noise literally hundreds of apps competing for eyeballs are released every single day. So getting called out by Google in that ocean of apps is really helpful.

Kapalka says that the festival is a good start to get indie games more attention.

Its pretty tough to get attention in the app store these days unless you have a big brand or lots of marketing dollars behind you, especially for a premium rather than a free-to-play game, said Kapalka. And there are relatively few critical channels like magazines or streamers when it comes to mobile games for players to check out, unlike the PC and console space.

Blue Wizards representative plans to show up to their demo dressed as their games psycho killer star Skullface, armed probably with a chainsaw or machete to try to convince the judges. On the panel this year areAlex the Gamerette, a YouTube creator; Lina Chen, the cofounder and CEO of Nix Hydra;Emily Greer, the CEO of Kongregate; Jamil Moledina, games strategic lead at Google;Dean Takahashi, the lead writer for GamesBeat; and Sarah Thomson, the business development lead for indie games at Google Play.

The finalists are:

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Google Play Indie Games Festival unveils 20 finalists – VentureBeat

This New Version of Solitaire Is Being Released on Floppy Disks – Motherboard

Dust off your giant noisy keyboard and fire up your VGA because a new version of solitaire is about to drop for MS-DOS.

No, you didn’t mistakenly click on a blog post from 1991.

Launched and funded last week on Kickstarter, SHENZHEN SOLITAIRE is a throwback to vintage computing’s favorite time-wasters like Microsoft Solitaire and FreeCell. Releasing on a 3.5 floppy disk that should run on any 386-era PC, the game won’t work on modern PCs that lack floppy disk drives.

What would possess someone to release a game for a 36 year-old operating system?

Well, the project makes a little more sense considering Zachtronics developed it. The noted indie developer is known for a niche of puzzle games like SpaceChem and Infinifactory aimed at people who code.

“We make a lot of games about fictional computer architectures, and our ideas for them come from real life,” said Zach Barth, SHENZHEN SOLITAIRE’s creator, over the phone.

For Barth, porting SHENZHEN SOLITAIRE, a mini-game from his programming game SHENZHEN I/O, to archaic computer architecture was a source of artistic inspirationa spiritual journey, if you will. The Beatles went to India, but Barth bought a 386 from a local thrift store and learned how to program on it.

Bringing his Mahjong-inspired game of cards to its natural home environment wasn’t easy. It was necessary to write some of the code in assembly language, the low-level code that languages like C are built upon.

To better understand what he was getting into, Barth consulted Michael Abrash’s Graphics Programming Black Book, a tome published in 1997 on old graphics and assembly language.

“This is what it must be like for people who play our puzzle games,” he quipped. “Nobody is making them for me, so this is the next best thing.”

The only difference is his puzzle is giving nerds the solitaire revival they’ve been waiting for since the late 90s. With 18 days to go, the project has already doubled its meager funding goal of $200.

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This New Version of Solitaire Is Being Released on Floppy Disks – Motherboard

Cyan partners with Legendary Pictures to add backstory to Obduction – VentureBeat

Cyan has a double dose of news about its Obduction thriller. The game is debuting on the PlayStation 4 today, and the company has cut a deal with Hollywoods Legendary Pictures to add a backstory to the award-winning adventure puzzle game.

Legendary Pictures VR division will work on fleshing out the narrative experience of Obduction in partnership with Spokane, Washington-based Cyan, which is run by Rand Miller, the co-creator of the original Myst and Riven games. Obduction is now both a VR and 2D screen game.

(Robyn and Rand Miller, co-creators of Myst and Riven, will come talk about the lessons of the past at our GamesBeat 2017 event on October 5-6 in San Francisco.)

Cyan is selling the PS4 version and PlayStation VR version together in a bundle for $30. It also includes exclusive new content, such as a new screen, which reveals a new area: a mysterious Russian submarine inside a large cavern.

I asked Rand Miller what he thought about Obductions art style, game mechanics, and themes compared to the original Myst. Heres what he said:

I feel like Obduction succeeds in providing that same kind of feeling that Myst provided a couple decades ago where players are dropped into the middle of a world and story and become part of both. That was such a unique feeling in Myst, and we really wanted to capture it again.

As for the style and art its very different, and very similar. Different in that its no longer single static snapshot linked together to paint the world, but a world that you flow through in three dimensions in real time. Different in that our art director and the artists that worked on Obduction have their own voices that give Obduction its own unique personality. Similar in that its once again a somewhat surreal world with alien and familiar elements juxtaposed in ways that hopefully encourage players to discover more about what it all means. And similar in that we really worked to try to make the story, the environment, and the puzzles support each other and make consistent sense.

The one similarity in theme is the idea of being snatched away from your comfortable surrounding and plopped into unfamiliar circumstances. We always considered that with Myst, we wanted the player to act like it was them that they were having this experience not playing a role. Obduction continues with that premise. Even though the story and environment are very different, that theme remains the same this is you, what would you do?

Above: Rand Miller is co-creator of Myst at Cyan.

Image Credit: Cyan

The new content also includes greater insight into the backstory of the characters and places and two new music tracks composed by Cyan software and audio engineer Hannah Gamiel.

Legendary has always been driven by a passion to empower great storytellers to tell great stories, no matter the medium, said Ethan Stearns, the vice president at Legendary VR, in a statement. Having successfully developed innovative story worlds across film, television, comics, live experience, and virtual reality, Legendary is thrilled to have an opportunity to continue pushing back the narrative boundaries of storytelling by bringing our brand of elevated, fully immersive VR to the gaming space alongside a groundbreaking studio like Cyan, who has truly revolutionized the computer gaming experience for its fans.

The PS VR version was made possible in part by a partnership with Legendary VR, a division of Legendary Pictures, the Hollywood studio best known for the The Dark Knighttrilogy, 2014s Godzilla, and recent blockbuster Kong: Skull Island. Legendary has the rights to make a TV show based on Myst.

Above: Obduction is a mysterious puzzle game.

Image Credit: Cyan

We already had a great relationship with Legendary Pictures as they have the options for a Myst TV show, said Rand Miller in a statement. Now as they expand into VR for both interactive and entertainment, its very exciting to be working work with them on the road map ahead.

Obduction is already available on Steam, GOG, Humble Store, Oculus Store, and the Mac App Store for PC, Mac, Rift, Touch, and Vive.

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Cyan partners with Legendary Pictures to add backstory to Obduction – VentureBeat

Gamescom 2017: Hands on with Transference, a decidedly unsettling VR puzzle game – Critical Hit

I briefly remember seeing a trailer for Transference at E3 this year but I have to be honest and admit that I completely forgot about it and moved my attention on to the more expected blockbusters of the year like Far Cry 3, Call of Duty or Need For Speed.However,while at Gamescom this year our Ubisoft contact managed to get me some hands on, or is that rather face on, with their upcoming Virtual Reality Psychological Thriller, Transference.

Transference is a psychological thriller and the first game collaboration between SpectreVision and Ubisoft. Bridging the gap between movies and games with SpectreVision which is an American Film Production company setup with Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller. So,SpectreVision are bringing their years of experience of movies and the story-driven immersion and combining it with the game development skills of Ubisoft and you have something that is truly unique.

The demo started off with us being shown a grainy video of a scientist explaining that we have been chosen to participate in their experiment, where we will be inserted into the memories of a soldier suffering from PTSD who has died. Were able to look through his memories over time to piece together how it all went wrong. But nothing to be worried about, because we are perfectly safe. Perfectly safe.

I have the VR headset strapped on, get noise cancelling headphones on and then get two weird controllers that I hold with each hand. As soon as the controllers come into view my hands spectrallyappear inthe game and I now have full motion of both hands to reach out and touch things, push switches and pick up objects. I found out afterwards that these controllers are the Oculus Touch controllers and hopefully the tech behind them will be shared with all VR manufacturers as it really made the game that much better.

Read Gamescom 2017 – Hands on with PUBG, Forza and more at Xbox

I was then teleported into a rundown house. Certain walls and doors were obviously glitching out a bit, this was explained earlier by the scientist where the more severe the memory the more unstable the memory data is and these sort of glitches are fine and you dont need to worry. Im perfectly safe.So I walked forward and turned into the kitchen which was covered in dirt and flies with rotting food strewn all over the place. There was a baseball on the table which you could pick up and examine, on top of the microwave there were some antidepressants and near the fridge there were some more. I opened the drawers to find a broken picture of a father and son both smiling away.

I flicked the light switch and everything went dark and then when I reappeared and the lights were back on we were around 10 years back in the past with the house now nice and clean, travelling through time in the persons memory; I flick it again and Im transported back to the present.

The time travel ability is great for investigating things and comparing the differences between the times but its much more than that. The real kicker is that you can use it to transport things between times. So in my demo I needed to open the basement door to see whats down there. In the current version of events the door is open and if I walk down there is a young man rambling to himself and if you approach him he suddenly runs up to you and blows your head off with a shotgun. But in that version there is a basement key hanging in the kitchen so you need to then grab the key and flick the light switch and you then appear back in the past with the key and you can then use it on the door to open the basement door and then investigate the basement properly.

Read Jurassic Park Evolution revealed from the developers of Elite: Dangerous

Another neat VR trick was at one stage the entire house had disappeared leaving you alone in the blackness with some wood pieces floating in the air, you then had to position yourself in a specific spot and line up the wooden pieces which then caused a door to form which you can then go through and solve the mystery of the house.

Afterwards I asked the developer if in the full game wed be going through multiple peoples minds and he said that nothing has yet been revealed about that. But obviously this mechanic works perfectly to create visually unique puzzles. Each mind you go into can be in an entirely different setting, the look and feel can be entirely unique and the main characters can change all the time so Id say its virtually certain that the game will feature different minds. Ubisoft howeve, however, confirmed this at all.

Another possibility is that the game could be released with episodic content much like the recent brilliant Hitman series. But for now all we know is that the game will be released in the Spring of 2018 (Northern Hemisphere) and will be coming to the PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. It will be playable with standard controls or you can go full VR using the Oculus Rift, Vive or PSVR.

It is probably the most unique and original game that Ive seen at Gamescom and for that reason, along with the quality of the demo, it has received one of our very valuable Gamescom 2017 Nomination stickers.

Last Updated: August 28, 2017

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Gamescom 2017: Hands on with Transference, a decidedly unsettling VR puzzle game – Critical Hit

What Makes a Great Tutorial? – IGN

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Tutorials are essential to every game experience. In that time we learn the game mechanics, the key players, and of course the main quest. The first few hours of a game can easily make or break our opinion of it.

So what makes a great tutorial? Beyond just explaining the controls, what do some games do that hook you at the start and keep you coming back?

A bad tutorial can be boring, it can be tedious and repetitive. But a good tutorial can be funny, insightful, entertaining, and give you a great first impression of the world youre going to spend hours in.

From the Cemetery of Ash in Dark Souls 3 to Vault 101 in Fallout 3, here are some great tutorial levels and the archetypes that hold them together.

The Wise Mentor

The first tutorial archetype uses a “safe space” with a narrative figure (often older) who knows the world, the mechanics and the player quest, they teach you what you need to know before sending you on your way (spoiler: they often sacrifice themselves so that you can continue on your quest).

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a great example of this archetype. In Horizon we begin the game as a childhood version of Aloy, being raised by her guardian and protector Rost. Through the tutorial area you learn the fundamentals of surviving in the game world, hunting the machines, crafting healing items and of course the all-important stealth system.

To complete the tutorial area you need to pass The Proving a narrative gateway to being an adult, but also a mechanical test of all the things you learned thus far. Once you pass The Proving, youve officially finished the tutorial zone, youre let out into the wild world, but Aloy has also become an adult and knows how to survive outside the walls.

The Wise Mentor archetype finds a balance between easing you into the game mechanics and easing you into the story.

There are hundreds of examples of games with the Wise Mentor tutorial style, and really its derived from classic storytelling tropes. We see it all the time in cinema as well, just think about Ben Kenobi, Gandalf or Morpheus. These are all wise figures who teach the young hero about the ways of the world before giving them control over the story.

For another gaming example, Fallout 3 takes one of the most literal interpretations of this archetype. As you begin your journey in Vault 101 youre born, learn to walk, learn to shoot a BB gun and take a test to determine your starting stats. It really is about gamifying childhood.

The Wise Mentor archetype finds a balance between easing you into the game mechanics and easing you into the story. It puts you into the protagonists shoes in a vulnerable time in their lives and guides you through the first few hours in the gameworld piece by piece.

The Trial By Fire

At the complete other end of the spectrum is a group of game tutorials that would rather watch you burn than hold your hand.

These games create a challenge for you, then push you to complete it using the skills and wits at your disposal, no hand-holding in sight.

Dark Souls is my favourite example of this, but the structure itself is much older, going back to games like Metroid, Castlevania, Gauntlet and even Dungeons & Dragons. These games create a challenge for you, then push you to complete it using the skills and wits at your disposal, no hand-holding in sight.

Looking at Dark Souls 3, after character creation you find yourself in the Cemetery of Ash, with basic equipment and a health bar comparable to the shallow end of the kiddy pool. From there it throws a collection of different enemies at you, forcing you to react and respond to fast enemies, heavy enemies and archers one after another. This pushes you to learn the mechanics as you go, and persevere either through curiosity or determination.

Finally you fight Iudex Gundyr, a boss that crucially uses bits and pieces of the moves youve seen so far. At times hell charge, use wide swings, use grabs and attack from a distance and you need to use what youve learnt to take him down. When IGN spoke to Hidetaka Miyazaki about the development of the Souls series in 2015, he said that it was his studies of psychology and sociology that led to the Souls series. So its no surprise that this tutorial style mirrors how we so often learn as a child – through perseverance.

Who remembers a parent or sibling saying keep practicing and youll get better, well then, its no wonder that Dark Souls wants us all to Git Gud.

The Drip Feed

Not all games give you the complete tutorial upfront, and not all games let the training wheels off once you pass the safe zone. Our third archetype were calling The Drip Feed. These are the games that start with core skills and continue to offer new challenges in the form of new abilities, puzzles or enemies from start to finish.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a game thats close to my heart, and its also one of the purest examples of a Drip Feed tutorial style. First you acquire your sword and shield, learn how to use those and gain enough knowledge to complete the Deku Tree dungeon and leave the forest. Then you get the bombs for Dodongos Cavern and the boomerang to pass through Jabu Jabus belly.

The great thing about the structure of Zelda games and the Drip Feed style in general is that it continually gives you new abilities, then gives you a challenge that focuses on that one skill before moving onto the next. So if you dont like the forest temple, you might like the water temple or the fire temple as theyre structured differently and focus on a new core skill.

Weve seen this style replicated in games like Darksiders which draws heavily on the Zelda structure and gives you dungeons and bosses centred around a new item or ability. But also games like Pokemon, that have areas gated off or dependent on a new ability, like the HMs Cut or Surf.

The Drip Feed tutorial gives you a core set of skills at the beginning, then tests those, before giving you a new skill and testing that, this cycle continues onwards in teaching and testing until the end of the title. It builds up and up in layers, like a mechanic lasagne.

The Game Within A Game

What about the games that know theyre games? Part of the fun of having rules and guiding principles is knowing when they can be bent and when they can be broken. Lets look at Far Cry: Blood Dragon, a game that has style and 80s flare dripping from every neon-soaked pixel.

Part of the fun of having rules and guiding principles is knowing when they can be bent and when they can be broken.

For a game that starts with an epic 80s sci-fi synth soundtrack and still shots of the main character diving out of a helicopter and arming himself like an action hero badass, it sure drops you into the run-of-the-mill tutorial pretty quickly.

The session is called military navigation for idiots, and features such one line quips as moving allows you to go in many exciting directions and running is like walking, only faster. All the while our hero Rex Power Colt is swearing his head off and cursing his partner Spider for overriding his AI and forcing him to jump through these infantile hoops. Its a tutorial that knows every game needs to start with one, but that doesnt mean it has to do so willingly. This tutorial is like a smart-arse kid at the back of the class who still manages to get straight As.

Far Cry: Blood Dragons tutorial gives you the necessary points to progress, without being too expositional or getting bogged down in hand-holding. By throwing the paint-by-numbers tutorial at you from the outset, and having you sit through Rexs murder-hungry sass, it says yes this is a game, but not quite what youre expecting.

Oh, and watch out for the laser spewing dinosaurs.

The Guiding Hand

Lastly, well look at games that take a hands-off approach to tutorialising; games that encourage you to explore and learn about the world at your own pace, and use environmental or character cues to lead you to uncover the next challenge.

These are often narrative focused games, puzzle games like the excellent Hitman Go or point-and-click adventures like the Monkey Island franchise or Stupid Invaders. These games let you discover the challenge on your own, and guide you to the solution, rather than testing gameplay skills.

Most recently, games like Journey have championed this form of hands-off tutorialising by pushing and guiding the player through the landscape, rather than putting a big, shiny objective marker that tells you where to go.

When you first enter Journey, a game without any vocalised narrative, youre given some very simple prompts about moving the camera and then youre let out into the desert to explore. You then learn to activate the billowing pieces of fabric throughout the world, and see how this increases your own power. From there you follow a strange group of fabric creatures deeper into the desert, and without words or signals they guide you to free their friends and continue on your path towards and then up the mountain in the distance. How you progress is ultimately up to you, but these guides give you a gentle nudge and tweak your curiosity enough to get you moving.

Beyond this, a puzzle game like 2016s The Witness gave you a selection of puzzles and challenges to complete, but not the order to complete them and only the basic set of skills required. Without giving away the secret, there is a whole suite of environmental puzzles in The Witness, and you can play through the entire game without finding and finishing them. Whether you uncover them comes down to how observant you are, and whether you follow the environmental cues that the game puts before you.

Games that follow the Guiding Hand style of tutorialising leave a lot of the heavy lifting up to the player, but those that stick with it either through curiosity or investment might find themselves wrapped up in a game that will stick with them for years to come.

So what makes a great tutorial? It all comes down to giving you the core skills that you need to get through the game, but also giving you the emotional ammo to get invested in the experience. Whether it gives you those tools upfront, feeds them to you throughout, or lets you uncover them on your own, it needs to make you as the player feel like a valuable part of the game world and the unfolding story.

What are your favourite tutorials? What other archetypes are there that people should experience? Let us know in the comments.

Nathanael Peacock is a freelance games journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Why not say hey onTwitter?

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What Makes a Great Tutorial? – IGN

Competition heats up with ‘Senior Brain Games’ – WBBJ-TV

JACKSON, Tenn. Ready, set, go for the sharpest minds in West Tennessee.

So today is our fifth annual Senior Brain Games, Southwest Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability Director Shelley Matthews said.

Fourteen teams made up of seniors from 10 senior centers and adult housing centers put pen to paper to compete for the big trophy.

Just a way to bring older adults together and improve cognition and answer some trivia questions and fellowship with each other, Matthews said.

Each player must be at least 60 years old and each team consist of three members and an alternate.

There are three rounds of four teams, and each of those teams will answer three questions. The winner of that round will go on to play in the final round, Matthews said.

Todays winner will move on to our West Tennessee regional games, which is held here. That winner will move on to the state games in Jonesboro, Matthews said.

And the competition is real.

You have folks here from all walks of life teachers, professors, farmers all sorts of people interacting, and its fun to watch the competition between older adults, Matthews said.

At the end of the day, its a way to make sure we never forget those who came before us.

I think just keep in mind that the older adults are in the community,Matthews said. They want to interact like everyone else. They are our friends, they are our neighbors and they deserve our respect.

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Competition heats up with ‘Senior Brain Games’ – WBBJ-TV

Acclaimed VR Puzzle Game ‘FORM’ Now Available for Oculus Rift – Road to VR

Release in June, FORM is a VR puzzle game which has received top marks for its imposing, dream-like architecture and geometric puzzles. Now the game is available for Oculus Rift via both SteamVR and the Oculus store with a discount for the next week.

Form launched initially on SteamVR in June supporting the HTC Vive. Now developer Charm Games has updated the SteamVR version with proper Oculus Rift support, and also launched the title on the Oculus store. The game also picks up a new Cortex Mode which lets players listen to the games soundtrack withing the games stunning environments. For the next week the game is discounted to $12, and will return to a newly lowered $15 price point thereafter.

FORMReview

Formmay be the first VR title from Charm Games, but the clearly talented Vancouver-based studio produced an impressive work whichRoad to VRs Scott Haden called a truly VR-native experience that youll have a hard time forgetting. The game has also managed to hold down an impressive 93% positive user rating on Steam.

Good news forForm fans: the studio says theyre working on new VR experiences.

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Acclaimed VR Puzzle Game ‘FORM’ Now Available for Oculus Rift – Road to VR

The Witness and Obduction Creators Come Together to Talk Game Design – PlayStation LifeStyle

Jonathan Blow and Rand Miller are arguably two of gamings most brilliant minds, one having created The Witness, a highly lauded puzzle adventure, and the other bringing Myst into the world, a clever puzzle adventure that drove adoption of the CD-ROM format in 1993. In a fascinating twist on the traditional developer interview, the PlayStation Blog brought together these two intellectuals to talk about puzzle game development as Rand Millers latest title, ObductionPS4 with PSVR support, releases next week.

Blow begins by asking Miller about the advancement of technology since Myst released in almost 25 years ago, and having to change how developersforce player perspective with full locomotion 3D games. Miller explains the difficulty.

The nature of exploration/adventure games is that you want the player to feel like they have complete freedom, but at the same time provide some kind of path guidance that insures that the player gets the story/information they need. I think weve learned as weve transitioned to realtime 3D that the path guidance that we might have previously achieved on a per frame basis, we now have to do on a different scale.

Miller then goes on to talk about specific examples from Riven, a frame-by-frame game, versus how he handled drawing the players attention in Obduction, which is both fully 3D and in VR. In regards to VR, he likens drawing the focus of the player to keeping the attention of a three year old, because the ability and desire to look around is so natural and effortless.

Later in the discussion, Miller asks about the frustration of watching early players try to solve puzzles. Blow reveals that The Witnessdid not have early testers, and the first time people really got to go hands on with it was at PSX 2015, after the game was largely done being designed. Obductions creator then went on to talk about how he solved puzzle problems subtly.

The subtle clue solutions are the most fun for me just a little tweak that has the perfect psychological effect a flash of light on the other side of the world, a small 440 volt sign, a license plate on a desk, using consistent colors, etc. I love when those work to fix little issues, and even if they dont work for everyone, they make the experience more about paying attention then just trying to get into our (the designers) heads.

They go on to discuss core mechanics of the puzzle games, and how they each go about intersecting those core mechanics with story and environment to create an intelligent puzzle game that feels engaging to the player.

The discussion is quite interesting, so I recommend you read the whole thing over at the PlayStation Blog.You can also read ourRand Miller interview from PSX 2016 where we talked about what its like to be involved in three decades of advancements to video game technology.

ObductionPS4 releases on August 29th with PSVR support.

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The Witness and Obduction Creators Come Together to Talk Game Design – PlayStation LifeStyle


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