BioWare's Mass Effect 3 launch trailer was great. The high-intensity of the final chapter in the sci-fi universe really came through in the slices of action and dramatic moments that were featured.

But this alternative, fan-made trailer using Mass Effect 1 and 3 elements is even better. I love the heavy emphasis on the Reapers, not just through visuals but through speech. Even the music complements it better than the one in the the official trailer.

As someone who has still yet to play Mass Effect 3 (I'm reworking through 2), another launch trailer is welcome. For those of you who have already played the game, perhaps it's a good post-mortem look, without having to look at the ending.

Thanks, Norman!
And really, can you blame them? Lightsabers are terrifying. Still, this is the cutest thing I've seen today. Watch it!

My Dog Maggie Hates Lightsabers [YouTube — thanks, Dino!]

Amoebattle Is Loaded With Smart and Challenging Touch-Screen StrategyA touch-screen should work well with real-time strategy games, you know? RTS games require a good overhead view, the ability to quickly flick between units, and a ready batch of hotkeys and functions. The iPad in particular is uniquely suited to do all of those things; it just takes the right game.

Amoebattle, a terrific new iOS strategy title made by Grab Games, is the right game. It has been designed specifically for use on a touch-screen, and it's one of the most enjoyable and well-made examples of the genre I've played on a touch-screen device.

Unit selection, power activation, and navigation are all simple and intuitive. Drawing a circle around a group of units to select them feels perfectly intuitive, more-precise mouse be damned. Once you get the hang of the basics, it's simply a breeze to zoom yourself all over the map and manage your large and diverse army.

According to the story, you're a professor working with and studying a number of different amoebae. Really, the high-level story is mostly irrelevant—for all intents and purposes, you're the leader of an army of cute blue amoebae, intent upon doing everything a helpful robot voice says to do. There's a touch of cheeky "science funny" to everything, and it provides just enough of a wrapper to let you quickly get into the game and start playing.

Amoebattle is an intense, fun, and deep RTS; it's not some dumbed-down-for-iOS cash-in or port of a PC game. It was clearly made by people who genuinely wanted to make something interesting for the platform, and they've succeeded. It's not quite like any other RTS I've played.

The gist is the same as other RTSes—grow a big army with the right kinds of units for a looming engagement. Mine enough resources that you can expand your army in a balanced way. Deploy them in a manner that makes sense strategically. Kick ass. Rinse and repeat.

Amoebattle is a lovely-looking and -sounding game, with a nice pastel art-style, cute and mostly easily identifiable units (though sometimes they do all blend together), and a friendly, upbeat orchestral soundtrack. The music can make or break a game like this, and the Amoebattle soundtrack is a winner.

True to the game's amoeboid theme, unit development and upgrades take place inside the units themselves. If an amoeba has eaten enough food, it will be able to split and replicate, thereby growing your army. You'll also have to harvest power to grow some types of new units. Planted harvesters make for a more defend-the-base style of play typical to the RTS genre.

Other resources and strategies are also written into the game's "science." Every amoebae is either an herbivore, omnivore or a carnivore, and this affects how they move through the environment and interact with each other. Stats are varied and specific—in short order, you'll be commanding a large and diverse army.

Amoebattle has a wonky difficulty curve. It starts out simple enough, but before long it'll start really whupping you if you don't pay attention and play smart. That was fine by me—I was refreshed by the game's difficulty—but it's much more involved than your average on-the-bus puzzle game, so it might not be to every iOS gamer's taste. In other words, don't let its lovely pastel art and charming soundtrack fool you—Amoebattle is hardcore.

It's also fun. The rhythm and feel of a good RTS are hard to describe, but when they're there, you know it. They are "there" in Amoebattle. It's a smart and well-made game, just the thing for tactics-minded iOS gamers looking for something deep and satisfying to try.

Amoebattle [$4.99, iTunes]

We've seen more than our fair share of covers of Skyrim's bombastic theme music over the past six months. Now it's time for a little something different: an original song pieced together using sounds recorded from the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Through creative use of audio layering and filters, Peter "Flash! Bang!" Sneddon transformed the incidental sounds and music of The Elder Scrolls V into "Sounds of Skyrim (Flash! Bang! Dubstep Remix)". In the YouTube description for the song, Sneddon explains some of his techniques.

For example the kick was made by layering a punch, the bassy part of firing a bow, and pressing B in the save menu, compressing and EQ'ing them all individually.

The snare was comprised of chopping wood, jumping in a puddle and eating an ingredient then leaving the menu. These were again all compressed and EQ'ed individually then put in a sampler and bussed reverb was added.

The white noise build up is a wind noise that has a filter sweep on it with a high res peak.

The result speaks for itself. Quite impressive, really. Makes me wonder if people like Sneddon just hear things differently.

Check out Flash! Bang!'s Soundcloud page for a crisper, cleaner version.

Sounds of Skyrim - Flash! Bang! Dubstep Remix [YouTube]


Watch This, Play This Begins NowStuff to play, stuff to see, here comes Watch This, Play This. Confused? Read this.


The real-time strategy game's official multiplayer mode is now up to season seven, Blizzard announced today. Rankings will be reset once again. So now's your chance to prove to the world that you deserve better than Bronze. [Blizzard]


Peter Molyneux Explains Why He Left Lionhead and Microsoft to go Indie Game designer Peter Molyneux surprised many when he announced his departure from Microsoft last month. Molyneux is best known for heading up the Fable franchise and for his ambitious, unusual game ideas, both the successful and the cancelled.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Molyneux finally explained why he chose to leave Microsoft when he did, and why going indie again felt like the right path for his future career.

The impetus for leaving Microsoft, he said, began when he found himself receiving a number of lifetime achievement awards. He recalled thinking, "Are these awards really for things I've done in the past? Do they represent the best I'm ever going to do? Or do they represent a challenge to what I am going to do?" That line of thought led him to think about the role risk and safety played in his career. He decided that in order to accomplish what he hoped to do, he would need a more risk-taking environment:

The case I put was, the best a creative person can ever do is when there is a lot of risk and when there is a lot at stake. That's hard to do within a big corporation like Microsoft. Secondly, the type of people I would need to exploit all this new stuff would be slightly different from the type of people who were at Lionhead.

So, after a lot of talking, we agreed I would leave Microsoft and set up a new company. Of course, Microsoft was very keen to talk about a deal, but I didn't want to constrain any creative endeavours this new company would do with setting an early deal. That's what I did at Lionhead, and it really did end up constraining what you ended up doing.

He continued to discuss his experiences at Microsoft and his outlook on the indie community, saying that he felt strongly that the Fable franchise could have a lot of life in it yet. The cancellation of Project Milo left a lingering hurt, he said, but he didn't blame Microsoft for their decision.

Molyneux, in fact, seems to bear no ill will toward Microsoft as a business at all. When asked if he would consider Microsoft as a publishing partner for future work with his new start-up 22cans, Molyneux answered, "I actually have an almost physical love for Microsoft. I know people there incredibly well. I love their direction, their passion. They're definitely people we will talk to for sure. I just don't want them to be the only people if you see what I mean."

So what does the future hold for Molyneux and his new studio? He avoided discussing the actual game idea that he and his new crew hope to developed, but indicated that, as with his earlier experiment working with the Kinect, he hopes to be able to use new, rapidly evolving technology in an innovative way. In true Molyneux fashion, he spoke excitedly about the future of cloud computing and announced that saved games are an outdated idea:

Although I'm not going to talk about the idea, I will say there are so many ingredients that go to make up an amazing game now, and those ingredients just didn't exist even a few months ago. Whether you talk about new ways of input, or smartglass or motion control or the evolution of whatever consoles are going to be. There's the cloud, where can save your game to it and off it goes and you can go to your friend's house. But it's so much more than that! It can be so much more!

What I love about cloud computing - and this hasn't been explored yet - is that it allows for something that we as gamers haven't had since the start of gaming, and that is persistence. We don't have worlds or experiences that can continue and last for extended periods of time. We need to get rid of saved games.

It's that kind of thinking that created Molyneux's fake Twitter doppelganger Peter Molydeux and the recent Molydeux Game Jam, which Molyneux himself attended. Whatever comes next for the infamous game-maker and his new studio, no doubt it will at least attempt to be something we haven't seen before.

Peter Molyneux: Why I quit Microsoft, and why my new game will change the world [Eurogamer]


Your four Madden 13 cover vote finalists are Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, and Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Who do you want cursed the most? [@AdamSchefter]


Here's some video footage of Wreckateer, an upcoming Xbox Live game for Kinect that requires you to smash and destroy castles by moving around your body. I found the game at PAX East last weekend and thought it looked interesting enough to record. There's just something about wanton destruction that tickles that section of my brain that loves to stomp on Legos and fling exploding birds at pigs.

As you can tell, my voice was in pretty bad shape by this point in the show. I had to scream a lot. Pardon the squeaks.