Silly Hats, Serious Zookeepers: Team Xbox Builds for Good
Troy Barnes wore a furry yellow-and-white monkey hat into battle last Thursday night. His five-man team, all Microsoft employees, all of them wearing animal-themed hats promoting Zoo Tycoon, had taken LEGO up on its challenge to build for good. LEGO’s Build For Good contest played out at Seattle’s EMP Museum Thursday night. Seven companies (among them Amazon, Expedia, and Nordstrom) were tasked with using LEGO’s Mindstorms EV3 to build robots that would address everyday problems. Barnes and company built a working, automated, and 3D version of "Zoo Tycoon." Their display featured robots ZETA and ECHO (Zookeeper Extraordinaire Technical Assistant and Exhibit Crate Hauling Overseer, respectively) dropping exhibits into place and ensuring the animals were all pellet-fed.
The Music of Super Time Force
If you’ve caught any videos of Capybara Games’ upcoming "Super Time Force" — a time-bending, side-scrolling shooter with some of the most beautiful pixel art this side of the 1980s — you’ve almost certainly heard the music of Jason "6955" DeGroot. The Toronto-based musician’s hypnotizing soundtrack forms the backdrop for "Super Time Force's" frenetic action, adding a warped, wobbly layer of psychedelic frequencies to the proceedings. “Everything is based around NES sounds — simple pulse/triangle/noise waves,” says DeGroot, speaking to us from his Toronto studio.
Building for Good: The Xbox Way
Star Wars’ Galactic Empire never got the message: Build for good. But Microsoft and six other Seattle-area companies did. Seattle’s EMP Museum played host to LEGO’s “Build For Good” charity event late last week, where seven five-man teams were challenged to create something beneficial for humanity using only LEGO Mindstorm EV3 kits. The souped-up LEGO kits sell for $350, and have electronic components that can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks such as grasping, traveling along paths, and sensing objects via infrared. It was this Mindstorm EV3 kit that inspired 12-year-old inventor Shubham Banerjee to build a Braille printer he dubbed “Braigo.” And, in turn, Braigo inspired LEGO to challenge companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia, and Nordstrom to use its toys to promote an appreciation for the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines and conjure creative solutions to everyday problems.
Explore Uncharted Territory in Titanfall: Expedition
Get ready for an expedition, "Titanfall" fans: Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment unveiled the game's first downloadable content pack during a panel at last weekend's PAX East expo in Boston. Called "Titanfall: Expedition," it's got three all-new, all-awesome maps for you to wreck shop on, and -- best of all -- will be ready to deploy next month. These new maps represent the latest stomping grounds for the IMC Expeditionary Forces, who have hightailed it into the relative safety of Frontier space to lick their wounds after the Battle of Demeter. An uncharted world provides perfect cover for a new base of operations, with IMC's crack Titan pilots running simulations (incorporating what they learned back in Airbase Sierra and Angel City) to prep for the battles ahead. But when IMC's water filtration efforts reveal mysterious ruins in the local swampland, an archaeological team heads out to investigate some possible fortune and glory.
Gamer of the Month: Wayne Brady
Wayne Brady is a busy man. The comedian and actor first rose to fame in 1997, when he became a standout performer on the hit comedy series “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and has since become a prolific star of both screen and stage. After winning two Emmys for “The Wayne Brady Show,” he starred as Billy Flynn in the Broadway revival of “Chicago” and made some classic cameos on “Chappelle's Show” (hilariously subverting his “nice guy” image). In 2008, he released the Grammy-nominated album, “A Long Time Coming.” Now he’s got his hands full with not one, but two TV shows, a new version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and a reboot of the classic game show “Let’s Make a Deal.”
Witness Video Game History: Attend Atari Landfill Excavation on April 26
Become a part of gamer history. Unearth the truth behind the ultimate urban legend. We’re excited to announce that the excavation of the long-rumored “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game burial site will occur on April 26, 2014 and will be open to the public. Spectators are invited to watch the team uncover the infamous Atari game cartridge grave. The Atari Corporation – faced with overwhelmingly negative response to the “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game – allegedly disposed of millions of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1983. Fuel Entertainment took an interest in the legend, and in December 2013, with help from local garbage contractor Joe Lewandowski, acquired the exclusive rights to excavate the Alamogordo landfill. Fuel Entertainment brought the opportunity to Xbox Entertainment Studios, and now, as part of a documentary series (developed by Xbox Entertainment Studios and two-time Academy Award® winning producer Simon Chinn and Emmy winning producer Jonathan Chinn, through their multi-platform media company, Lightbox), the team will excavate the legendary New Mexico landfill to reveal the true story of Atari’s bizarre burial.
Mission Possible: Zoo Tycoon Players Achieve First Community Challenge
With the support of the “Zoo Tycoon” community, Microsoft is proud to announce that the first-ever “Zoo Tycoon” Community Challenge has been successfully achieved. More than 10,000 players voted, selecting to support the Sumatran Tiger Survival Program. In just a few weeks, players then took on the challenge and released 1,000 Sumatran Tigers into the wild in the game. As a direct result of these efforts, Microsoft donated $10,000 to the Sumatran Tiger Survival Program. Run by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the program aims to help reduce the number of Sumatran Tigers killed, displaced or caught in snares.