Are You Smarter Than An Ape?

Are you smarter than an ape Challenge yourself with this memory test designed by scientists and tested on apes and see how you compare to the primate’s skill. Available for iOS devices, Apes Will Rise will begin with numbers appearing on the screen and then quickly be covered by squares. Touch the squares in numeric order to pass to the next level. There are three levels of difficulty to test your memory, the most challenging being the speed of the ape. Download the app to get access to the latest content about the Rise of the Planet of the Apes film, including the theatrical trailer, movie tickets (when available), and the Apes Will Rise YouTube channel.

Feature: Codie’s Third Lap For Dirt

Guy Pearce

The racing genre is replete in various titles covering various interests from NASCAR to street racing and off-road. With all the variety out there and such prominent multi-dicipline racing series like Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsports and Need for Speed, no franchise meets the particular needs of rally car fans quite the way Dirt does. We talked with Guy Pearce, Brand Director of Internal Studios for Codemasters, about the third incarnation of the Dirt franchise.

What has Codemasters thought of the critical reception to Dirt 3, and do you feel that will be key for it’s success in the coming months?

The reception to Dirt 3 has been truly incredible and a great testament to our hugely talented development team. It has received the highest praise, and Metacritic average, of any game in the series so far. At the time of writing it’s one of Metacritic’s top 10 games of 2011, top 5 on Xbox 360. Some reviews have stated it may be the best racing game ever made. We’ve already seen that have an impact on the first eight weeks of sales, as we’ve beaten a lot of the series’ records. For example, it’s the quickest we’ve sold 1 million units of a Dirt game. Having all those excellent accolades out there goes to reinforce the messages we put out about the game, especially as we continue to support Dirt 3 and its extensive program of add-ons over the coming months. 

How have the main sponsorships, such as with Monster energy drink, helped push the game?

We’ve had some really hardworking partners along for the ride on Dirt 3. Ken Block, ESPN, Monster Energy Drink, Ford, Tanner Foust, DC Shoes and the Monster World Rally Team have been invaluable in helping us build really entertaining viral content, and spreading the word on Dirt 3 to all their legions of fans and audiences. I mean, Monster Energy Drink has 10 million people on Facebook, that is extremely powerful. The key thing with our partners is making sure they fit the brand, the game, and it’s a good fit for our respective audiences. Our Battersea gymkhana video with Ken Block wouldn’t have been possible without our partners, and the viral that came out of it was a spectacular piece of content and just a great event to be part of.

What role do you feel the trailers had of informing users of new features, like some of the multiplayer features and the gymkhana mode?

Trailers are a vital route for communicating feature set, but they also act as a gauge for the popularity of the different aspects of your game. We weren’t really expecting the Gymkhana mode in Dirt 3 to be so universally well received by our global rally fans. The trailers featuring Gymkhana were by far the most popular in terms of views and scores. Having the ability to record and share your own Gymkhana driving videos via YouTube has been a huge success. We’ve had over 200,000 videos uploaded by fans already, showing off their skills to friends and that’s helped drive awareness to gamers who we may not have been able to reach. Equally, it’s great to see how people are enjoying the game and the sort of videos they’re putting together. Some of the Gymkhana runs are insane. Allowing players to make their own trailers and publishing straight to YouTube wasn’t an easy feature to create, but it’s something the fans have really taken to.

Talk to me about some examples of social media outreach that helped maintain the buzz for the game.

We had a very passionate audience from Dirt 2, and it was great to engage with them directly on Facebook and Twitter while we were making Dirt 3. We pushed the community side of DiRT3 from the second the game was revealed via a TV spot during the X-Games last summer. Competitions, seasonal giveaways, exclusive community updates and information from behind the scenes in studio really helped everyone stay up to date on the development of the game. We offered our fanbase multiple chances to come to the studio and focus test, or spend the day at our events as VIPs, and we also worked with our partners on social media to bring updates and information to their audience too. We love our fans’ passion for the game. On Twitter alone, over the course of the game being in development, over 25 million accounts saw a Dirt 3 related tweet, and it’s the conversation and sharing of exciting information that makes it all happen. Ken Block, with 1.8 million fans on Facebook, was posting details about his involvement with the game throughout the whole development process. We’re recently concluded a contest with Monster Energy Drink on YouTube, where people uploaded clips from the game as video response and we decided which was the best — over 350 people entered. Naturally, the social media push is what’s giving it traction. The list goes on and on!

It’s a crowded racing market out there, but do you think the particular appeal to the rally and extreme sports crowd has helped maintain the game’s cult following?

Absolutely. Dirt 3 is the only game that focuses on the global rally scene and its emergence into the extreme sports world. We’ve worked hard to understand what those audiences want to do in a game, and integrate that into the Dirt 3 experience. We’ve also made effort to align Dirt with the credible partners in the sport and culture. We hope this will give the Dirt brand a sure footing for the future, so our dev team can continue to make an awesome game experience. The game has a cult following, but we think in terms of sales momentum, critical reception, fan reaction and the innovation that we put into each game in the series, this development team should be considered as doing some of the most exciting work in the world. Anyone who likes cars and racing games will find something to love in Dirt 3, and many of the features we’ve introduced have been taken up by other studios. No one does damage like us, Codemasters pioneered the Flashback feature in racing, Gymkhana now lets players thrash a car around like never before — these are just some of the features that make the Dirt 3 series relevant to a broad section of gamers.

The game’s packaging along with some of its banner advertisements, used this motif with a car and three-sided pyramids exploding outwards. What was idea behind this aesthetic?

Ok, here’s some art-speak for your ears. Those gold ‘three-sided pyramids’ are actually called tetras. One of our dev team artists had the idea to use them to abstractly represent dirt particles coming out from under the wheels. The brand team thought it looked cool so it became a key aspect of the marketing visuals. It’s simple, strong and unmistakably Dirt 3.

Is Codemasters looking for a potential bump for Dirt 3 with the summer X-Games?

We certainly hope so. We’ve developed an ‘X-Games Asia’ game add-on pack to be launched in the X-Games window, which will be pushed by various ESPN channels. It’s an official X-Games event and lets players go for gold on two new Rallycross tracks in Shibuya, the neon heart of central Tokyo. It’s a really exciting contrast with this incredible, iconic landscape acting as a stunning background for Dirt 3’s racing. Rallycross is hugely popular in Dirt, especially online, so it’s a great fit for fans.

Thanks for this opportunity.

Thank you, Guy!

_ _

Playing Dirt 3 Want the new X-Games DLC Join the discussion on Facebook.

Zynga Teams With Gate2Play

Gate2Play announce their first partnership with Zynga to distribute Zynga Game Cards in 16 mostly Arabic speaking countries throughout the Middle East and Africa. These pre-paid cards will come in $2, $5 and $10 at thousands of retail outlets, compatible with games like Empires & Allies, CityVille, FarmVille, and Mafia Wars; important in territories without many credit cards.

“The pace at which the Middle East’s social gaming market is growing represents a significant opportunity for both Gate2Play and Zynga,” said Muhannad Ebwini, Chief Executive of Gate2Play.

FIFA 12 Gets Rooney, Cahill

EA Sports today announced the cover athletes for FIFA 12. There will be Rooney (once again) but there’s also another soccer star.

Rooney and Wilshere, left to right.

“Australian and Everton star player Tim Cahill has been chosen for the cover of EA Sports FIFA 12! The attacking midfielder returns following on from his FIFA cover debut last year and will join Wayne Rooney and Kaka as the three cover stars on the Australian pack,” said the announcement by EA Sports. “Wayne Rooney, who graces the pack for the 7th consecutive year, will no doubt be challenging Tim to a game of FIFA 12 or two. EA Sports welcomes them all to FIFA 12, which promises to be our best in the football series yet!”


Ngmoco Launches Mobage In English

Ngmoco and parent company DeNA have announced that the Mobage mobile social network has launched an English-language version. It’s currently very game oriented (with 30 million users and $1.3 billion in revenue), but eventually Ngmoco hopes to add more social features to make it more akin to a mobile version of Facebook.

“Mobage’s release outside of Japan marks the next step in our company’s global expansion,” said Ngmoco CEO Neil Young. “The opportunity in front of us is to build Mobage into the definitive destination for games and entertainment across territories and mobile operating systems. We’re tremendously excited about the potential for the platform, both as a great way for players to experience the very best games and for developers to access a global audience easily and effectively.”

Nintendo 3DS $169 On August 12

Nintendo of America has announced that they will be dropping the price of the 3DS to $169.99, effective August 12. In case early adopters feel chaffed by the $80 price reduction coming less than half a year after the system launches, everyone who purchases the system before August 12 will receive 20 free games (10 NES and 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console titles).

For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now, said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. We are giving shoppers every incentive to pick up a Nintendo 3DS, from an amazing new price to a rapid-fire succession of great games.

WWE 12 Pre-Order: Rock Lays The Smackdown

THQ has announced a pre-order bonus for WWE 12. PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will receive The Rock as a pre-order bonus, in his modern day form, with the Samoan style tattoo and shaved head.

The Rock was on hiatus for several years from the WWE while he pursued a movie career, but returned to host WrestleMania this year; despite his absence, he’s still one of the most popular performers in the WWE. WWE 12 promises to have an overhauled gameplay experience and new broadcast TV presentation.