News Shelf: 11/01/13

IGF finalists announced


The 2013 IGF Nominations are up and – as per usual – Toronto is well-represented amongst the indie gaming elite.

DrinkBox Studios and Asteroid Base received nominations for Excellence in Visual Art for Guacamelee! and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, respectively, while Droqen and Ryan Roth picked up a nomination for Excellence in Design with Starseed Pilgrim. Roth and Droqen also received honourable mentions for the Nuovo Award for abstract and unconventional game development, and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

The IGF-nominated artwork for Guacamelee! was last seen gracing the cover of November’s inaugural Gamercamp Magazine, while Asteroid Base was recently profiled right here at Dork Shelf. Minority Media’s Papo & Yo (did we mention Gamercamp?) and Christine Love’s Analogue: A Hate Story also picked up honorable mentions for Excellence in Narrative.

The winners will be announced on March 27 during the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Congrats and best of luck to all the local nominees!

Nvidia and Razer show off new handhelds at CES

The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show is winding down, which means we’re kicking of the year with two new gaming handhelds. Nvidia’s Project Shield is an Android device that promises to sync up with your Windows PC to allow you to stream content – like, say, your Steam library – via Wi-Fi. The Razer Edge, meanwhile, is a new tablet/console hybrid being billed as a “Steam Box” (noticing a theme?) with a slew of button-covered attachments.

Both devices pack some pretty serious power – the base model Edge boasts an Intel Core i5 Processor and a 64 GB hard drive – but all of that hardware doesn’t come cheaply. Edge retail prices will start at $999 when it debuts in Q1 2013. Project Shield doesn’t yet have a price tag and is expected in the second quarter of the year.


Sony attacks used games with new patent application

Sony has filed for a patent for technology that ties individual game discs to one console to make all used games unplayable. In a related story, GameStop shares are down.

Despite some glaringly obvious and consumer unfriendly ownership concerns – would this make legitimately purchased discs functionally useless if the first console breaks? – the news isn’t quite as devastating as it appears.

Major tech corporations are always filing paperwork to prevent competitors from calling dibs, but a company won’t necessarily use a patent just because it has one. Sony knows it would face a massive backlash if it went after used games too aggressively, which means GameStop will continue to profit from other people’s intellectual property for the foreseeable future.

Dream Job: Zynga Employee?


CBS is launching a new reality show – dubbed “The Job” – in which contestants compete for a dream job in a new industry every week. How does that relate to video games? One episode will feature contestants vying for a coveted position at social gaming titan Zynga.

While it would be easy to make the usual quips about Zynga, the company does offers full health and dental coverage for all employees. I’m not saying that I’d necessarily want to work for Zynga, but making FarmVille 3 might be preferable to paying for a root canal.

THQ bankruptcy hits a snag


THQTHQ can’t even file for bankruptcy without screwing something up. According to Gamasutra, the publisher’s creditors – as in, the people to whom THQ owes vast sums of money – have filed objections to the proposed $60 million sale to Clearlake Capital Group, alleging that the move doesn’t maximize the value of THQ’s assets.

The complaints argue that THQ executives have negotiated a deal that allows them to continue as executives rather than face consequences for driving the company into the ground in the first place.

Of course, creditors don’t always get what they want in a bankruptcy settlement, so this sort of wrangling is probably business as usual. It will nonetheless be interesting to see were THQ’s properties end up (and who’s in charge) once the dust finally settles.

The Raccoon City Tour of Toronto


Toronto Resident Evil Raccoon City

Do you live in Toronto? Do you find the obliteration of your host city cathartic? If so, you’ll want to check out this Torontoist piece highlighting the city’s various cameos in Paul W.S. Anderson’s last two Resident Evil movies. Spoiler Alert: most of these buildings explode. And have zombies.

This is mostly architectural porn for people familiar with Toronto, but hardcore Resident Evil fans might enjoy learning that the Robarts Library is as ridiculous in real life as it is in fiction.