pax south

God of War Director Will Deliver Keynote for PAX South 2019

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Sony Santa Monica Studios game designer Cory Barlog will deliver the Storytime keynote address at PAX South 2019. PAX South takes place Jan. 18-20, 2019 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Barlog is best known for the God of War series. He was lead animator for the original God of War in 2003, then directed the sequel God of War 2. He left in 2009 to pursue other game design companies, including LucasArts and Crystal Dynamics. He recently returned to Sony in 2013 to direct the God of War reboot that released earlier this year.

God of War (2018) has enjoyed critical and commercial success, becoming one of the best-selling games of the year.

PAX began life as the Penny Arcade Expo. It was launched in part by the gaming webcomic due of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.

“Doing a sequel to a beloved game is a unique challenge, and so is rebooting a franchise for a modern audience – Cory Barlog has done both,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder, Penny Arcade. “We’re overjoyed to have him join us at PAX South. If I get the chance, I’m gonna tell him about this place I know in San Antonio where they make the guacamole with Orange Juice instead of Lime. It sounds crazy, but it works.”

PAX South 2019 will mark the fifth PAX South convention. Like most PAX conventions it features a large expo hall of new and upcoming games, geeky vendors, concerts, tournaments, and gameplay stations.

Tickets are still available. Three day passes are $85. Single day tickets are $42. Special Sunday Kid Badges (ages 7-12) are available for a reduced price of $10.

The next PAX event is in Australia with PAX Aus, which takes place this weekend, Oct 26 – 28 in Melbourne. The next US-based PAX is the board game focused PAX Unplugged, which runs Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 in Pennsylvania, PA.

hello piano

Learn How to Play Piano with Hello Piano App

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Mobile developer Gismart has launched Hello Piano on iOS. Hello Piano is a music-focused educational app that teaches users how to play piano through games, trivia, and puzzles.  It’s available now for iPhone and iPad.

“Hello Piano is the start of music education products for Gismart,” said Dmitri Lipnitsky, CEO, Gismart. “We are aiming to fight boredom, a chief enemy of educational success, and offering gamified learning experience, featuring a balanced mix of theoretical knowledge and practice. We’ve had a great success with our music entertainment apps such as Beat Maker Go that has amassed over 25 million downloads to date and is a leading beat making app on the App Store, and now keen to expand our product portfolio with music educational products.”

Hello Piano focuses on four teachable areas: ear training, reading music, rhythm training, and playing techniques. The app is designed as a serious, daily exercise, with lessons that can be absorbed in 15 minutes a day. It features a Daily Practice mode to ramp up skills, and tracks progress in the My Stats section. It gamifies much of the teaching, including adding achievements and difficulty settings.

Hello Piano works as a subscription service. The app is free to download and includes a 3-day free trial. Subscriptions cost $7.99 per week or $19.99 per month.

Gismart is a UK-based mobile developer that specializes in music-focused game apps. Hello Piano is their first foray into edutainment and educational software.

Kingdom Hearts

Catch Up On the Entire Series with Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far

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Square Enix wants to make sure you’ve had as many chances as possible to catch up on Kingdom Hearts. They announced the biggest compilation bundle yet for PlayStation 4, Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far.

The Story So Far packs together three previously released bundles into one super bundle. It’s available October 30 for $39.99.

Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far is notable for including last year’s Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix bundle, as well as the one piece missing from that bundle – Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.

Unpacking the various bundles reveals the following games (or cutscenes, where noted) included in The Story So Far.

  • Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories
  • Kingdom Hearts 368/2 Days (cinematics)
  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (cinematics)
  • Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
  • Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage
  • Kingdom Hearts X Back cover (movie)

The last three entries were specifically included from the 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, which launched last year.

Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far is available to pre-order now. The Kingdom Hearts series is rated E10+. The very long awaited, highly anticipated sequel Kingdom Hearts III is due to launch on January 25, 2019.

super mario party

Win a Nintendo Switch with Specially Marked Lunchables

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For the upcoming launch of Super Mario Party, Nintendo has partnered with Oscar Mayer’s Lunchables brand food packs for a promotional sweepstakes. The grand prize is an entire Nintendo Switch console. The promotion kicks off October 5 and lasts through December.

“This partnership with Lunchables is another exciting way for us to expose even more people around the country to the world of Nintendo,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo Senior VP of Sales and Marketing. “This program is a perfect opportunity to kick off the celebration of Super Mario Party by combining the game’s love for unpredictable fun with Lunchables’ love of letting kids make their own fun with their favorite foods.”

Every box of specially marked Lunchables packs will include a unique code that can be entered online. Only 500 codes will result in a winning prize. Prizes range from an entire Switch system to extra Joy-Con controllers, a carrying case, My Nintendo Points, and a copy of Super Mario Party.

Super Mario Party is launching October 5 on Switch. It features dozens of minigames in the classic board game structure, as well as new cooperative modes.

For a series first, players can also play sets of minigames online. Toad’s Rec Room is a new feature that allows two owners of Super Mario Party and their own Swithc systems to pair them up, combining the two screens for some specific minigames. Super Mario Party is rated E for Everyone.