Dance your “badonkadonk” off

Casual and children’s game developers GameMill Entertainment on Tuesday announced the future release of “Country Dance for Wii.”

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The game’s lineup of country songs will include Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

Other performers set to be heard on the release include Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Miranda Lambert.

Konami announces launch date for Hard Corps: Uprising

“Hard Corps: Uprising” is scheduled to be released for XBox Live users on Feb. 16, Konami announced today.

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The ARC System Works developed title is a 2-D scroller in the same vein as previous titles within Konami’s Contra series.

The game is scheduled to retail for 1200 Microsoft Points.

Konami reported in December that the title will also be released for PlayStation Network, but a release date for PS3 players was not contained in today’s announcement.

Verizon announces iPhone service, as expected

Verizon Wireless and Apple announced Tuesday – to the surprise of virtually no one who cares – that the iPhone will be released to Verizon customers.

The iPhone is the best piece of technology ever invented in the history of mankind, according to its owners.

Apple’s competitors, of course, disagree. Motorola’s Droid phone is so awesome it practically turns users into a cyborg, according to commercials.

Droid uses Google’s Android operating system, but is not the only smartphone to do so. That was different for the iPhone, however. Until Verizon service begins on its scheduled date of Feb. 10, iPhone users had to sign a contract with AT&T to use the popular smartphone.

Verizon customers have not been shut out of the smartphone market, of course. The carrier

Wireless carriers, however, seem to engender less brand loyalty than Apple. The Associated Press reports the news may mean some customers will switch carriers, but how many is hard to say. (Link updated.)

AT&T activated 11.1 million iPhones in the first nine months of 2010. Analysts now expect Verizon to snag some users from AT&T, but the impact will likely be muted because most iPhone users have two-year contracts, and many are on family and employer plans. Verizon did not reveal its service plan pricing on Tuesday.

Verizon’s iPhone version will work only on the carrier’s current “3G” network even though the carrier has fired up a faster “4G” network in many cities. That super-fast wireless data network is available only to plug-in laptop modems for now, but Verizon will have smart phones for it this summer.

Cook said the first generation of “4G” phone chips would have forced some design compromises, which Apple wasn’t willing to make.

“Secondly and most importantly, Verizon customers have told us they want the iPhone now,” Cook said. “I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked and my colleagues have been asked . When will the iPhone work on the Verizon network?”

The lack of 4G means the Verizon iPhone will have much slower data speeds than AT&T’s, at least in the areas where AT&T has upgraded its 3G network. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel was quick to point this out, along with the fact that users won’t be able to surf and talk at the same time on the Verizon iPhone. International roaming will also be
very limited compared with the AT&T version.

However, Verizon has much wider domestic 3G coverage than AT&T does, especially in the interior of the country. In the big cities of the coasts, iPhone service can be spotty because of crowding on AT&T’s network.

Although Verizon did not announce its service plan price, the company plans to sell the iPhone 4 at $199 for the 16 GB model or $299.99 for the 32 GB model with a two-year contract.

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth

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No, that’s not the new name of Indy’s next film or some kind of bizarre crossover with the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean film, but it is the name of a project that is already ten years in the making by die-hard fans of Lucasarts’ classic adventure games featuring the Man in the Hat.

This one takes place in 1939, before the invasion of Poland by the Nazis, as they scour the globe in search of yet another artifact for the Reich. But the Fountain may only be the start of a race to attain an ancient weapon of forbidden power and only Indy can stop them in time. Doesn’t he always?

The free PC-only demo lets you sample a bit of the impressive gameplay. For those unfamiliar with this type of adventure game, it’s the kind of point-and-click exploration and puzzle busting that were incredibly popular in the eighties and the nineties. You’ll need to scour scenes for clues, examine notes, and break through devious puzzles to beat those nefarious Nazis.

From the sharp art style and polished soundtrack to the puzzles – and even a little fighting – it’s like playing the sequel to Indy’s other adventure, the Fate of Atlantis, all over again. So if you miss those old Lucasarts’ styled adventures – or need something to help forget Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – try this one out or visit the site and check out the history behind it.

When, and if, the game is finally finished, it’s going to be released as a completely free fan tribute. Definitely keeping my eyes on this one.

Try out some Silk

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“Silk” comes courtesy of programmer, Yuri Vishnevsky, as an experiment in “generative art” according to the site. All that you do is draw a line, change the breeze, and let the web do all of the work. It’s like fingerpainting, only with your mouse.

It doesn’t look like you could save your masterpiece, but you can watch an amazing replay of all of the tweaking you did to get it into shape. You can try it out here.

DC Universe Online designers try to build new MMO audience

The success of DC Universe Online may depend on whether the title finds an audience among gamers who have yet to enmesh themselves in the addictive MMO genre.

Besides using the DC Comics universe as a setting, the new title is designed to attract new players by offering a slam-bang combat system and gameplay that’s relatively quicker than existing MMO titles.

“What felt superheroic was picking up cars and throwing them at people,” game director Chris Cao said. “I wanted to make MMOs more fun for more people.”

DC Universe Online is scheduled to be released Tuesday, Jan. 11. Sony Online Entertainment is releasing the game for PS3 and PC.

The game allows players to design their own superheroes or supervillains and play under the tutelage of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman or those characters’ nemeses, Lex Luthor, Joker and Circe. The storyline casts Superman foe Braniac as lead antagonists, and other DC Universe characters are billed as featured players.


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Sony’s game is not the only effort to set a well-known fictional universe as the scene of a new MMO. Bioware’s “Star Wars: The Old Republic” is set for a springtime release, and Cao laughed a little when asked if he was excited to see his team’s game on the market first.

Millions of gamers enjoy massively-multiplayer online games, but any quick scan of the Internet can reveal commentary from many other game fans who stay away from the genre. Titles like Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft” or NCsoft’s “Aion” can attract players with sprawling virtual worlds, but can repel others simply by the prospect of grinding through long hours of gameplay.

Thus in Cao’s words, DC Universe Online comes across as a game designed for the MMO newcomer, if not the MMO skeptic. The game has the character creation and raiding features that are common to MMOs, but also player-versus-player challenges that pit skill against skill. In other words, the idea is for playersto be able to to compete against each other even if they haven’t spent every waking hour grinding through level after level.

The game’s combat system is designed to be more similar to titles like “Bayonetta” or the “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” series than other RPG’s, CAO said.

Grinding is also reduced compared to other MMOs, he said. Players can reach the game’s highest level in 40-50 hours.

“If you want to play another game or another couple games, you will be able to,” he said.

DC Universe Online is set to retail for $59.99 on PS3 or $49.99 on PC. Monthly subscriptions are set to cost $14.99 after 30 days. PS3 and PC players will play in separate “universes.”

The game is rated T for Teen.

Star Wars fans will be able to buy the series, again

Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century Fox announced today the Star War series is set for September release on Blu-Ray.

The movies are scheduled to be sold in three different box sets. The big nine-disc package is advertised as featuring three discs of alternate and deleted scenes, among other special features, and is expected to retail for $139.99.

The original and prequel trilogies are also set to be sold in their own packages for $69.99 each.

The official announcement does not specify which versions of the original trilogy will be packaged, but the promotional video and Amazon.com chatter indicate that at least some changes made for the 1997 Special Editions or later edits will be included.

Blackberry PlayBook

Blackberry is taking on the Apple iPad with their new Blackberry PlayBook a sleek 7″ LCD Tablet with a multi-touch 1024×600 screen. The PlayBook runs 1Ghz dual-core processor with 1GB ram.

Check out the specs from BlackBerry after the jump

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Ultra portable, super convenient

0.4″

Height Width Depth Weight

5.1″ / 130mm 7.6″ / 194mm 0.4″ / 10mm 0.9 lbs / 400g


Best-in-class media

3 MP high-definition forward-facing camera 5 MP high-definition rear-facing camera

Codec support for superior media playback, creation and video calling

1080p HD video; H.264, MPEG4, WMV HDMI video output Micro USB and Micro HDMI ports


Video-conferencing

Crystal clear HD display Rich stereo sound Dual HD video cameras


Built for business

Out-of-the-box compatibility with BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Seamless pairing for a secure window into your BlackBerry smartphone

Corporate data access Secure and manageable


BlackBerry Tablet OS

Powerful, user-friendly QNX technology: It’s what the World Wide Web runs on

Multi-processing for true multitasking


Rich application ecosystem

Rapid development environment Reliable BlackBerry Tablet OS, powered by QNX technology

Supports POSIX OS, SMP, Open GL, BlackBerry 6, WebKit, Adobe Flash, Java and Adobe Mobile AIR

7″ LCD display, 1024 x 600 screen resolution Multi-touch capacitive screen


Professional grade performance

Full computing power in a tablet format 1 GHz dual-core processor 1 GB RAM Symmetric multi-processing


Web without limits

Games, media, apps and everything the real Internet offers Full Adobe Flash 10.1 enabled Built-in support for HTML 5 No-compromise rendering of text, graphics and video


High-speed connections

3G network access using your BlackBerry smartphone as a modem 4G network access available on BlackBerry 4G PlayBookTM tablet Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n Bluetooth 2.1+EDR


Amplified BlackBerry experience

Wirelessly connect to your BlackBerry smartphonefor real time access to:

Email, calendar, address book, task list and BBMT

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Verizon: Ten New 4G LTE Products

Verizon’s announcement during CES 2011 was all about 4G LTE. LTE, short for Long Term Evolution, was rolled out on December 5, 2010 in 38 markets and by the end of 2011 they hope to be in 175 markets. After today’s announcement they will roll out with ten new 4G LTE devises, 4 cell phone, 2 mobile hotspots, 2 LTE enabled laptops and 2 tablets.

Verizon plans to release these products starting in Q1 of this year. 

Unfortunatly no iPhone announcement yet, maybe we’ll hear more on this room come Macworld 2011 later this month.   

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