Apps & Games

New Games Due This Month

It’s the start of a new month, and a handful of video games are slated for release.

According to GameStop, here are the games coming out in the next several weeks:

  • “Pokemon X” and “Pokemon Y,” the latest entries in the 17-year Nintendo franchise, come out Oct. 12 for the 3DS. While it’s more of the same – gotta catch ’em all – it’s the first available in 3D. The games cost $40 each.
  • Activision’s “Skylanders SWAP Force” comes out Oct. 13 for Wii, WiiU, 3DS, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This is the third game in the Skylanders series, and it requires the purchase of mini figures to play the game – a brilliant marketing strategy to rake in more money. A starter pack that includes two figures costs $75 on each platform.
  • “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” from Ubisoft is slated to come out Oct. 29. In it, you play a young pirate captain in 1715 whose mission is to loot, plunder and assassinate the occasional templar. The games costs $60 and is available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, WiiU and PC.
  • Electronic Arts is releasing “Battlefield 4” on Oct. 29. The first-person shooter is the first to run on Frostbite 3 technology. The game costs $60 and will be available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, WiiU and PC.
  • And one more, although it’s technically not in October: The hotly anticipated “Call of Duty: Ghosts” from Activision is set to come out Nov. 5. The first-person shooter introduces new characters and weapons and will be available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 for $60.

One game that will not be released, ever, is Electronic Arts’ “College Football 14.” The company made the announcement after settling lawsuits filed in 2009 by two former athletes who said they weren’t paid even though they were depicted in the game series without their approval. The future of the franchise remains in doubt.


Bits & Pieces

  • Maybe it’s a good thing that the FDA plans to regulate smartphone health apps. A recent study of four apps that purported to determine if a skin lesion is cancerous by examining a photo found that three of them were wrong 30 percent of the time. Just one app, which sent the pictures to a real doctor for review, was 98 percent accurate.
  • Atari’s “Centipede” was an arcade and bar hit when it was introduced in 1981, and the game is making its debut in casinos. The Associated Press reported that slot machine manufacturers are rolling out games based on old arcade hits that are popular with middle-aged gamblers but are likely to bring casinos less money than traditional slot machines.
  • Parents who are concerned about exposing their children to junk food TV commercials need to worry about games. McDonald’s, M&Ms and Burger King each have several iPhone and iPad game apps that feature their less-than-healthy products, and all are free. Coke alone has nine iPhone apps targeting the under-18 crowd.
  • In the third of three announcements last week, Valve announced the Steam Controller, which will replace the keyboard and mouse used in PC games to better allow games to be played on your TV and give them a console feel. The first people to get the controllers will be beta testers of Valve’s new console.
  • Ford has purchased Livio, maker of the Livio Connect in-car app gateway, ostensibly to create an app interface that any car manufacturer could use. For now, Ford plans to keep Livio as a separate brand.
  • China has reversed its ban on video game consoles, sort of. Under the revised law, companies that register with Shanghai’s free trade zone can sell video game consoles and arcade machines throughout China. But the country is keeping restrictions on the games officially sold: Only those approved by the Ministry of Culture are allowed. So Chinese gamers will have to stick the black market for games deemed to be “unhealthy.”

Maria Welych, who was technology editor at The Post-Standard for five years, is director of marketing and public relations at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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