FarmVille 2 updates Zynga’s cow-clicker (but not too much)

FarmVille 2 updates Zynga's cowclicker but not too much
FarmVille. Just the name likely conjures up some vivid thoughts and opinions in the minds of gamers everywhere. As the flagship casual social game for both Facebook and Zynga, FarmVille can't help but be a lightning rod for debates about gaming's audiences, game design, and the role that video games can and do play in our daily lives. Time labeled the game one of the "fifty worst inventions" of all time, but that hasn't stopped over 80 million people from logging on and doing some cow and crop clicking.

And now Zynga (which itself has attracted plenty of controversy recently) is going to try and recreate the game's success with a brand new version called, simply, FarmVille 2. Director of Design Wright Bagwell showed Joystiq what the future of FarmVille's crops and farm animals looks like, how the game will reach out (but not too far) toward a more hardcore audience, and how Zynga plans to take the world's most popular and oft-hated casual and social game and make it even more casual and social.

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JoystiqFarmVille 2 updates Zynga's cow-clicker (but not too much) originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 05 Sep 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Amazon announces ‘Amazon Game Studios,’ starts with a Facebook game

Amazon announces 'Amazon Game Studios,' starts with a Facebook game

Amazon's evolving from a digital marketplace into a content creator as well, today announcing its first game development studio - "Amazon Game Studios" - with the launch of its first game, "Living Classics." The company's starting somewhat unremarkably with a hidden object game (which it's dubbing a "moving object game"), and it's ready for you to play on Facebook right now. There's also a trailer for the game above.

Per the announcement, the studio is also hiring. And hey, despite our reluctance to play casual games, it's hard to get upset at someone hiring game devs.

JoystiqAmazon announces 'Amazon Game Studios,' starts with a Facebook game originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 06 Aug 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Big Fish Unlimited lets gamers resume play on mobile, PC and TV, stay distracted at all times (video)

Big Fish Unlimited lets gamers pick up where they left off on mobile, PC and TV, stay distracted at all times video

The perpetual crisis of casual gaming is that need for just one... more... turn. After all, those 29 levels of progress aren't coming with you to the office, are they? Big Fish Games wants to ease our consciences (or at least our egos) with Big Fish Unlimited. By using HTML5 to constantly save progress, the cloud service remembers exactly where a player was and ports it to the next device: it's possible to hop from a Android tablet, to a Roku box, to a Windows PC's browser without having to replay anything. The nature of the streaming games themselves won't give OnLive players second thoughts, but their lighter footprint won't demand as much from an internet connection, either. Most of the intended audience will appreciate the price -- the now active service costs $8 a month for access to more than 100 games from the full catalog, and free play is on tap for 20 of the games as long as you can endure periodic ads. Whether or not coworkers can endure another round of your hidden object games is another matter.

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Big Fish Unlimited lets gamers resume play on mobile, PC and TV, stay distracted at all times (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 25 Jul 2012 03:05:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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No Violence Necessary: The case for The Sims as a role-playing game

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This is a weekly column focusing on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity.
Is combat a necessary component of a role-playing game? It doesn't seem to be, by any number of common definitions. Yet if you look at how the genre is interpreted, combat seems to be essential. RPGs are built around swords clashing and guns blazing, with occasional conversations. Sure, there are a few games like Fallout and Deus Ex which offer non-violent, alternative pathways, but the bulk of the game is still oriented towards players who want to fight.

There's a wildly popular, but under-discussed role-playing game that only includes a tiny amount of violence. It's The Sims, a game that shares almost every trait with role-playing games ... except combat. Don't believe me? Well, what do you actually do in The Sims?

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JoystiqNo Violence Necessary: The case for The Sims as a role-playing game originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 02 Mar 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A Diversity of Roguelikes

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This is a weekly column focusing on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity.

Once upon a time, the "Roguelike" genre was a semi-hidden cache of secrets in gaming. Games like Rogue and NetHack were passed around from floppy to floppy, not sold in stores, not discussed in magazines, and certainly not treated as part of the same tradition as an Ultima or even a Gold Box game. Maybe it's because the genre name is just so stupid. We don't call first-person shooters "Doomlikes" or puzzle games "Tetrislikes."

Unfortunately, I don't have a better term for it. Perhaps over the course of describing them in a column we can think of something. Here are the consistent attributes of the genres: it involves a series of randomly generated levels, starting hard and getting progressively more difficult. They're usually stripped-down role-playing games, where you roll a quick character, pick a class, buy a couple items, and then get killed permanently by a slime and have do it again. They're also designed for short play sessions.

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JoystiqA Diversity of Roguelikes originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 19 Jan 2012 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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