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‘Prodigy’ brings figurine role-playing games to adult audience

- March 26th, 2014

Imagine a cool Skylanders for adults. Turns out, it’s happening.

Prodigy, the first game to come out of Hanaki Studio, is a classic turn-based RPG card playing game, but amped up with the inclusion of physical figurines that will produce digital cinematic sequences on a computer screen.

Comparable to Activsion’s multimillion dollar figurine based video game franchise Skylanders and Disney’s Infinity series, players can build up their character base through purchases of different models.

Once the figurines are bought, they’re placed on a specialized board that lights up to correspond with the figurines currently in play. Using Unreal 4 technology, the cinematic sequences are completely based off what’s happening on the adjourning board.


Courtesy Hanakai/DigitalSpy

Perhaps the most interesting –and one of the major draws for potential buyers- is the promise of owning the “Ring of Power,” which must be swiped across the board at the beginning of each session to ensure all future progress is saved.

Those fanboys and girls who always wanted a powerful ring like Hal Jordan, here’s your chance.

According to Digital Spy, Hanaki Studio has already completed the beta testing for Prodigy, and is going to be Kickstarting its alpha testing, promising backers exclusive figurines and boards that won’t be available to the general public.


A Ranger character, one of the classes you can play, both as a model (L) and in game. Courtesy Hanakai Studios/Digital Spy

As of right now, Prodigy will only be compatible with PC and Mac computers, but Jean Bey, CEO of Hanaki, told Digital Spy that a console version may be possible with the USB interface.

The Kickstarter campaign for the project is supposed to launch later in the week.

What do you think of the concept behind Prodigy? Are you going to back the project? Let us know in the comments below.

Twitch Plays Pokemon finally beats game after 16 days

- March 1st, 2014

If you felt a strong wind blowing early Saturday morning, chances are it was the unanimous exhale of the entire internet.

On March 1, Twitch Plays Pokemon, an ongoing social experiment that saw over 100,000 people consecutively play one game of Pokemon Red, came to an end following the defeat of the final Pokemon trainer in the game, Blue.


Over a period of sixteen consecutive days, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Twitch, a site dedicated to hosting live gaming streams, to help their online comrades in beating a game that normally only needs 20-25 hours.

The stream’s creator, who remains anonymous, built the algorithm as a social experiment, to see what would happen when people banded together to try and achieve one goal.

The result, at the beginning, was pure anarchy. At points, players were stuck in the same cave or town for hours as different actions were inputed and received. In order to play, all a player needed to do was write the direction or the action they would like performed in the comment box.

As time waged on, however, and the game became stagnant in progress, the anonymous creator who has since developed a cult like following online introduced a new gameplay mechanic. Players could choose either “Anarchy” or “Democracy” as a mode to play under, and depending on what the majority of players picked, that’s how the game would play out.

Since Twitch Plays Pokemon debuted, the enormous “religious and political” sects surrounding it have grown.

Different pokemon in the game were given biblical titles, while simultaneously developing a fanatical fan base. Twitch Plays Pokemon’s top star, an Omastar they dubbed “Lord Helix” had a prayer designed in his name that players would often times spam the comment section box with. “Bird Jesus,” a Pidgeot became the go-to saving grace in the final battles, while “All Terrain Venemoth” or ATV became the fans least favourite choice of the bunch.

Being hailed as one of the most fascinating events that’s occurred online since the internet was developed, players created multiple Google Doc forms and spreadsheets to detail and document the origins, events, and moods captured in the game’s run. An ongoing timeline of the run can be found in this particular document.

But after sixteen days of around the clock gameplay from people all over the world, the various players and viewers aren’t finished yet. On Sunday at 7 a.m. EST, they’ll be starting the game all over again, with one goal in mind: beat their original time with better knowledge of how the first real Nintendo massively multiplayer online game works.

Fancy Video Game Party invades the AGO

- February 20th, 2014

Toronto’s video game community is about to get a whole lot fancier.

On Feb. 21, the entire community will come together at the Art Gallery of Ontario to celebrate the five-year anniversary of its landmark development organization, the Hand Eye Society, with a Fancy Videogame Party.


Courtesy Art Gallery of Ontario

The Hand Eye Society, a non-profit group that brings together developers, journalists, and publishers, helps to raise support for various gaming artists located in the city.

“Toronto is a hive for games groups and events, like Dames Making Games, Bento Miso, IGDA Toronto, Site3, and various annual game jams – so the Hand Eye tries its best to mesh the community together, while fulfilling a mandate to encourage the wider public to take more interest in the fascinating world of video games,” Alex Hayter, event organizer for the Hand Eye Society said.

With the fifth anniversary quickly approaching, Hayter said he and his team wanted to throw a massive ball, one that represented everything they’ve achieved over the past half decade.


Courtesy Art Gallery of Ontario

It was a trip to the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in L.A. last year that cemented the idea in Hayter’s head.

“I attended the Wild Rumpus party at GDC last March and was so impressed, as this was exactly the sort of relaxed, but exciting, event that we were looking to host here,” Hayter said.

“Jim (Munroe, co-founder of the Hand Eye Society) and I got in touch with The Wild Rumpus’ Marie Foulston (who moved to Toronto last summer), and both our organizations worked together with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to put together the Fancy Videogame Party.”


Courtesy Art Gallery of Ontario

In Hayter’s opinion, the AGO was the perfect stomping ground for the party as it encapsulated every aspect of arts and culture they try to achieve daily.

“The AGO is very much the epicentre of the Canadian arts establishment, and the audience they tap into – largely outside of the Hand Eye Society’s regular events and programming – represented a pretty awesome opportunity to reach those members of the arts-appreciating public that aren’t necessarily aware of the incredible stuff happening in the indie games scene,” he said.

Reaching a community outside the traditional indie gaming scene is pivotal to the party. It is one of the main reasons the event included so many indie titles for attendees to roam around and play. With the succession of indie games rapidly moving past the AAA forum and garnering the largest audience they’ve ever had, Hayter and the team at Hand Eye Society thought a massive party with non-gamers would be one of the best ways to demonstrate the independent talent.

Award-winning Canadian-developed games, including The Yahwg, Towerfall, and Tether, will be joined by international sensations, such as Joust, Nidhogg, and Pole Riders.

“Everything was picked with both the physical space in mind as well as what games would complement one another. So we’ve picked everything from super-competitive sportsy titles, to wacky, creative adventure games, to a sticker-printing selfie booth,” Hayter explained.

On top of providing attendees with multiple games to discover, or rediscover with hundreds of friends, the Fancy Videogame Party has also brought out some of the best DJs making music both in the scene and out of it.

Award-winning Ryan Roth, local DJ Ryan Henwood, and Coins will be taking centre stage, combining their eclectic electronic sounds ranging from chip tune to “happy dancey space music” for an ambient backdrop.

With the indie development scene continuously expanding across the country, Hayter said he’s proud to be a part of an organization that helps developers create and market their games.

“…I think the spirit of creative collaboration is mostly to blame for the rampant success of the Canadian indie scene. I think that groups like the Hand Eye Society have helped this legacy of working together to take a well-deserved grasp of our games community across the country, and especially in Toronto.”

The Fancy Videogame Party starts at 8 p.m. on Feb. 21.