Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flight of the Amazon Queen iPhone update

Flight of the Amazon Queen on the iPhone has just been updated to include an all new totally awesome control system.

The previous version's controls emulated the mouse of the original game, but the new system is completely optimized for iPhone. Now you simply touch anywhere on screen to perform an action, making game play so much faster and intuitive. The older controls are still available as an option if you prefer them.

Congratulations are in order to Liron at iPhSoft and his team for coming up with a really elegant solution. Now I just need LucasArts to update the controls for Monkey Island on iPhone because Amazon Queen makes it hard to go back to the old interface...

Well, what are you waiting for? Go download Flight of the Amazon Queen for iPhone now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Casual Connect, Seattle and Handheld Gaming

I just returned from Casual Connect in Seattle. The flight over from Australia was a bit on the long side (24 hours from start to finish!) but the flight back was good (I slept most of the way).

The trip was a great success - we met with everyone we wanted to, and were introduced to a lot of other interesting people.

I spent all my time in meetings so I didn't get a chance to catch many of the panels or talks, but the great team behind Casual Connect will have podcasts of many of the talks up on their site before too long.

One thing I noticed on this trip was a large number of iPod Touch/iPhone users at airports. They were everywhere, and weren't just using their devices as music players or phones, but as game devices. In fact, I saw more people playing games on their iPhones than I did on PSP's or DS's. Actually, I only saw one PSP the whole trip.

Of course this is all anecdotal, and probably has a lot to do with the flight route I took (LA to San Fran to Seattle). I imagine this is a route a lot of tech savvy people travel and are more likely to be sporting iPhones.

But it got me thinking, is the iPhone/iPod Touch on track to be the portable gaming platform of choice?

I actually packed my DS Lite with GTA: China Town Wars - keen to play more of the game. But what happened? The iPhone was in easy reach, I had a bunch of fun little games to play, so I ended up playing it whenever I got a chance. Plus, Virgin flights have USB slots on all their seats, so you never have to worry about your iPhone running out of battery power.

So, while Marko and Duncan played their iPhones and the gentlemen across the aisle played his, I was engrossed in I Dig It, Dungeon Defense, Peggle, the awesome Wild West Pinball (which is now FREE!) and Monkey Island. And my poor DS sat, untouched, in my carry on bag.

So, for me, I have to say that the iPhone is now my portable gaming platform choice.

One day I will switch on my DS and finish GTA: China Town Wars... but for now I have a secret to discover on Monkey Island, courtesy of my iPhone.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Screen Play Interview

I did an interview with Jason Hill for his Screen Play column in The Age.

Jason is a big supporter of the Aussie games industry and it was cool to be featured in his column. We talk about Flight of the Amazon Queen, the iPhone, social/casual games and Facebook as a gaming platform.

Click here to read the interview.

I love that Jason included a link to Screen Play's original 1995 review of Amazon Queen. Hope you don't mind Jason, but I've reprinted it here.
Flight of the Amazon Queen
Review (c) Jason Hill

This CD adventure was produced in Australia and shows our lads can make software that's every bit as good as the world's best. Flight of the Amazon Queen is a large, involving and entertaining quest.

You play pilot Joe King (pun definitely intended) who's a cross between Humphrey Bogart and Indiana Jones. The game is set in South America during the 40s, and Joe and his friends are trapped in the Amazon after his plane gets struck by lightning.

The game's humor is often groan-inducing but makes for a lot of fun. In one of the earliest puzzles Joe has to dress as a woman in order to escape some dim-witted guards, and his attire includes a hilarious pair of plastic breasts. Throughout the game there's also plenty of amusing jokes about Star Wars and strange rashes.

A strength of the game is its length. There are over 100 locations and 40 characters. If you knew every solution to every puzzle it would still take 11 hours to play through.

The game uses a good, forgiving interface and the puzzles are logical and not terribly difficult.

The graphics look a little dated compared to recent gems such as Full Throttle, but the backdrops are detailed and flow together extremely well. There's also plenty of good cut-away scenes where the plot is revealed.

The CD contains full speech. The acting is suitably hammy and there's a guest appearance by Penelope Keith.

Flight of the Amazon Queen has a very similar feel to the Monkey Island games, and while it seems a little dated compared to some of the latest cinematic adventures, it's extremely enjoyable and one of the best adventures around.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Some Interesting Links

There's so much stuff on the net that I appreciate it when someone compiles a whole lot of interesting links for me to look over at my leisure. So I figured I do the same.

My list of links are mostly concerned with social and casual games - because, well, that's the future of gaming. I hope you find this useful reading.