Go fetch a macguffin in… MacGuffin

A “macguffin” is a common storytelling element, long used in all kinds of media. Whenever the main characters are sent on a quest to get The Magical Item that can save the day, that’s a macguffin. The game MacGuffin uses this trope to send the player through a short but fun exploration of a comedically fictional nuclear facility.

The game experience in MacGuffin leans heavily on jokes. Some of the jokes placed in the environment are appropriate for the situations in which they are found and others are random things for the player to happen across. The player also has a cell phone on them which can be used to dial the person who has sent them after the macguffin. His lines are filled with comedy as well, sometimes breaking the fourth wall.

That said, there are also some points where things like lighting and camera shake are used to good effect for creating a dramatic (or perhaps melodramatic) moment. The start menu is brilliant in its own way, with the selectable options shown on a smartphone screen and the mouse leading the pointer finger of a giant hand …read more

In China, half of ecommerce spending will be on mobile in 2015

In China, online shopping done on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices will reach US$334 billion in 2015 – which means mobile shopping will account for a record high 49.7 percent of ecommerce expenditure.

The new data from Emarketer shows the 2015 projection will evince strong growth from China’s 2014 mobile commerce expenditure of US$180.4 billion, which was about 38 percent of all ecommerce retail that year.

In China, half of ecommerce spending will be on mobile in 2015

Looking ahead a few years, Emarketer reckons that mobile commerce will grow strongly in China, albeit at increasingly slower rates. By 2019, ecommerce spending on mobile will hit US$1.41 trillion, when it will represent 71.5 percent of all online retail.

With mobile commerce set to account for half of China’s ecommerce spending this year, the country is about to pass a major milestone in its transition from the PC and internet boom of the mid-2000s to the new ubiquity of smartphones. This isn’t too much of a surprise since China had 557 million mobile internet users in 2014 out of a grand total of 649 million web users.

<img src="https://dx0820ezj6x23.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/China-number-of-internet-users-in-2014-chart.jpg" alt='<img src="https://dx0820ezj6x23.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/China-vs-US-mcommerce-spending1.jpg" alt="In China, half of ecommerce spending will be …read more

Next Car Game: Wreckfest Impressions – Fast and Destructive Fun

When it comes to independent games, we don’t see all that many racing titles thrown into the mix. While there are a few that have met with decent success, it’s definitely easy to save that racing is not one of the most popular genres for indie developers to tackle. Wreckfest is one of these few racing games. Developed by Bugbear Entertainment, who have worked on titles such as FlatOut and Ridge Racer Unbounded, it is a racing game with a heavy focus on destroying the cars of your opponents.

I must admit that I am not a novice when it comes to racing games. I’ve gotten my feet wet in many different racing titles over the years, with the Forza series being my favorite that I’ve played so far. As a fan of racing games, I was extremely interested to see how it could combine with the destruction mechanics and still make an enjoyable experience. Typically, I spend so much time in games perfecting my vehicle that I couldn’t stand to see it destroyed, but with the in-depth destruction system of Wreckfest, I take more pleasure in doing as much …read more

Baidu Opens Companies To Investment As Stocks Stumble

Baidu has opened up over a dozen of their current projects to direct investment, hoping to boost development as they attempt to stay competitive in China’s O2O arena. The companies open for investment include recent spinoffs 91 Desktop and Baidu Takeaway, a food delivery service.

Baidu saw a sharp drop in their stock at the start of this week following their Q2 earnings report. Revenue fell below expectations due to the company’s aggressive O2O investment.

“Because of the early-stage nature, we have to invest aggressively to make sure we will be successful,” said CFO Xinzhe Li during an earnings call.

Li noted that strong competition from non-public companies including Meituan and Dianping meant that Baidu had no choice but to invest aggressively over the next three to five years.

The latest program from Baidu, dubbed the “aircraft carrier program,” will open series of Baidu assets up to investment with the goal of developing out their ecosystem under the guidance of Baidu.

Baidu takeaway [Baidu Waimai] is a an O2O service with logistics operations covering predominantly food. They hope to extend their coverage to pharmacies, flowers, supermarkets and other consumer products. They are also the testing company for Baidu delivery drones, …read more

Zhou Hongyi denies HTC investment rumors, says Qiku phone is coming in August

Don’t believe everything you read in the paper: that’s the message from Qihoo 360 founder and CEO Zhou Hongyi, who yesterday rubbished rumors that Qihoo and Coolpad smartphone joint-venture Qiku was planning to buy a major stake in HTC for US$661 million. On Weibo, Zhou wrote that while HTC’s phones have a lot Qiku can learn from, he is not – as rumors had suggested – in Taipei brokering a deal, and he does not know HTC CEO Cher Wang.

HTC has also denied the rumors.

But Zhou did say that Qiku’s long-awaited smartphone will finally be hitting the Chinese market in August. That will put his new smartphone company in direct competition with HTC, along with all of China’s domestic smartphone players. In particular, Zhou’s efforts through both Qihoo and Qiku seem aimed at taking on Xiaomi.

But the battle for Chinese smartphone supremacy could be especially awkward given the convoluted relationship between Qiku and its smartphone-making rival Letv. Qiku is a joint-venture between Qihoo and Coolpad, but last month Letv bought a major stake in Coolpad. The move came as a surprise to Zhou, who reacted with profane anger and a promise for vengeance. But even if Qiku’s …read more

How to Skip the Wait for Your Windows 10 Update

Microsoft’s gradual rollout of Windows 10 might mean you’re still waiting your turn to get your free upgrade—but you don’t actually have to be patient. You can skip the line (and escape automatic download woes) and cut straight to the good stuff.

How? By getting Windows 10 through the Media Creation Tool, which you can download from Microsoft’s website. It’s completely legal and legitimate, and doesn’t take much time at all. It also works whether you’ve already reserved a copy of Windows 10 or not.

Before performing any operating system upgrade, you should back up your machine. (You can find tips for that in Step 3 of our How to Prepare Your PC for Windows 10 feature.) Backing up is a good practice in general, but it’s especially important as a fail-safe should something go awry during this manual upgrade process—or if you decide you don’t like Windows 10 as much as you thought you would, roll back to your previous OS, and discover your system isn’t quite the same as it was before. (At the time of this writing, the reports on switching back to Windows 7 or 8/8.1 say that the results aren’t perfect and can require …read more

RPG Reload File 049 – ‘Doom 2 RPG’

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we sometimes vanquish demons with toilet water. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store’s past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It’s a chance for a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow, giving us the chance to revisit old favorites and reflect on their position in the overall iOS RPG scene. Your only guide on this journey is Shaun, an observer from your own time, who appears in the form of a hologram only you can see and hear. I try to choose a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week in hopes of properly representing this gnarling hydra of a genre, but if you have a particular game you’d like to see me tackle, please let me know about it. You can do that by making a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweeting me at @RPGReload.

After taking a fun detour into the world of social RPGs last week, this week we’re tackling something a bit more traditional. Well, sort of. Regular readers …read more

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Release Window Announced for Terraria on Wii U, 3DS

Terraria will be released on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS in early 2016, 505 Games and developer Re-Logic announced today.

The sandbox adventure game will come to Nintendo’s platforms with touch controls for both crafting and combat. In addition to 4-player split-screen, the Wii U version will feature online multiplayer for 4-8 players, while the 3DS version will support 4 players over a local connection.

Those attending Gamescom will have the opportunity to get hands-on with the 3DS version by visiting the Nintendo booth at the show.

Terraria is currently available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation Vita, and mobile. For more, check out IGN’s Terraria review.

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Test Chamber – Angry Birds 2

No. You are not viewing a classic video from five years ago. Despite releasing new Angry Birds games every year, Rovio is calling today’s new entry the first official sequel in the series. From a quick glance, Angry Birds 2 may not seem much different than previous iterations. You know what to expect: Birds are flung at rickety structures infested with pigs. That said, the structure of the game is a little different, and the free-to-play conventions are more prevalent.

Game Informer’s Jeff Cork and Kyle Hilliard joined me for a competition of sorts to see who is the best at Angry Birds. We play through a handful of levels, temporary lose our minds in the first few minutes, and show off as many new features as we can for this new mobile release.

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