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Newsbriefs: Opera Delayed, GameTap Strategy Adds,  AA  Student Maps

Newsbriefs: Opera Delayed, GameTap Strategy Adds, AA Student Maps

March 22, 2007 | By Staff

March 22, 2007 | By Staff
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More: Console/PC

[UPDATED: 3:38pm PST] Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include the delay of the Wii's Opera-powered Internet Channel until April, the release of new and highly regarded strategy games on GameTap, and a new America's Army map pack created by SMU Guildhall students.

- Turner's 'all you can eat' subscription gaming service GameTap has added a trio of highly regarded strategy titles to its seemingly ever-growing catalog of more than 800 console, arcade and computer games. First, the service has added Microprose's esteemed turn based strategy game X-Com: UFO Defense to its lineup, as well as Firaxis Games' Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, a game that was originally bestowed with a score of 98 from PC Gamer, the magazine's highest game rating to date. In addition, GameTap has also added Bungie Studios' classic real time strategy epic Myth II: Soulblighter, a title that when released was lauded by consumer website GameSpot as “about as good as a computer game can possibly be.” These games join other notable genre entries such Myth III, Civilization III Gold Edition, Command & Conquer, Homeworld I and II, Heroes of Might and Magic I, II and III, and Empire Earth.

- Officials from both Nintendo and Norwegian-headquartered Opera Software have confirmed that the final version of the Opera-powered Internet Channel for the Wii has been delayed until April. The channel was previously announced to go live in March. A final date in April has not yet been announced, with both companies commenting in a statement that they "are working closely together to meet user requests for browser features and to enhance the overall Wii Web experience." A trial version of the browser was release in December 2006. The final version is expected to feature support for Flash and AJAX-based content such as Google maps. In addition, Opera for Wii will include the same complete standards support as the Opera 9 Desktop browser, and includes the added functionality of "Zoom" and "Bookmarks".

- Representatives from the U.S. Army and The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University have announced the release of the America's Army: Special Forces (Overmatch) (SMU GH map pack), an update now available from the official America's Army website. The update includes four new missions created by students at Guildhall under collaborative partnership with the U.S. Army and the America's Army Public Applications Team. The Guildhall team included five students (Cyndi Bell, Derek Manns, Jason Morales, Roy Orr and Rance Wood) led by Myque Ouellette who served as producer/lead designer with additional support provided by Mike McCoy. Rounding out this group, Guildhall students, lecturers and administrators assisted in concept development, testing, and feedback.

- Officials from third party peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz Interactive has entered into an exclusive agreement with BioWare to produce a new line of officially-licensed accessories to support the launch of the upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive Mass Effect. The Mass Effect-themed products will include a faceplate and Console Skinz combo pack, which includes a faceplate and graphics to customize the sides of the console. “Mad Catz has established a strong track record of producing and delivering quality products to coincide with major software launches,” said BioWare president Greg Zeschuk. “We look forward to the addition of the Mad Catz accessories to Mass Effect’s highly-anticipated launch and are delighted that Mad Catz is offering our fans another outlet to show their enthusiasm for the game.”

- Online game and virtual community website has announced the open release of the Miniclip In-Game Advertising Network. The network, which first launched in 2001 and has operated for six years exclusively for is now open to advertisers. According to network officials, the Miniclip In-Game Advertising Network comprises of 34 million game players on the Miniclip website with “many more millions of game players across thousands of Miniclip game network sites.” Miniclip boasts advertising services that are “more advanced than other current offerings of basic, static billboards,” such as integrated movie trailers ad the ability to purchase advertised items from within the game. Currently advertisers taking advantage of Minicip's in-game advertising services include Coca Cola, Disney, Warner Bros, Starburst, BP, Momentum pictures and Gillette.

- The latest updates on Gamasutra sister alt.gaming weblog GameSetWatch include a look at the unique concept of "using muscles to control wirelessly mobile phone applications like games," a discussion on 'binary' game review scores, and the release of the experiemental artgame The Marriage.

- The latest updates from Gamasutra sister website Game Career Guide include a student-level view of the recent Game Developers Conference 2007, and the release of Game Physics Engine Development for entry level developers and game development hobbyists.

- Also updated today: the latest Gamasutra job postings, including openings from Artificial Mind & Movement, Big Huge Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Blue Fang Games, Crystal Dynamics, Destineer, Disney Interactive Studios, Disney Online, Edge of Reality, Iron Lore Entertainment, and Volition.

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