Author - Jerry Paxton

Snoopy Pop Announced

Los Angeles, April 19, 2017 — Today, Jam City and Peanuts Worldwide announced the start of pre-registration for Snoopy Pop, an all-new bubble shooter game starring the beloved Peanuts characters and Snoopy alter-egos from the classic comic by Charles M. Schulz. Fans can now sign up to be notified when the new game launches and receive a Snoopy-licious in-game gift. Pre-Register now at jamcity.me/SnoopyGP forGoogle Play or at jamcity.me/PlaySnoopy for iOS.

Created in close partnership with the artists, animators and storytellers at Peanuts Worldwide, Snoopy Pop gives anyone with a mobile device the ability to help rescue Woodstock and his flock of birds who have been trapped in bubbles. The free-to-play game is expected to officially launch in early summer 2017.

“We are so honored to be creating a game with one of the world’s most loved and iconic brands,” said Josh Yguado, co-founder and president of Jam City. “The rich legacy of the Peanuts gang inspires our team and with Snoopy Pop we want to create a mobile game that lives up to the genius of Charles M. Schulz.”

The Peanuts Gang is Back!

Snoopy Pop gameplay features include:

  • Fun, varied, dynamic and challenging puzzles
  • Fresh new levels, characters, worlds and events added regularly
  • Collections of character game pieces, boosters and more
  • Unique character based power-ups, like Charlie Brown’s Kite
  • Game modes featuring Snoopy’s colorful alternate personas such as The Flying Ace and Masked Marvel
  • Events based on classic storylines and holiday specials
  • Maps, obstacles and boosters that capture the spirit of Peanuts
  • Original licensed music from the Peanuts holiday specials

“Working with partners who truly understand the heart of the brand and characters is paramount to Peanuts Worldwide,” said Roz Nowicki, Executive Vice President of Peanuts Worldwide and Iconix Entertainment. “Jam City has demonstrated great care and skill in helping bring Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Lucy and the entire Peanuts gang to a new generation of audiences. We are thrilled that people around the world who love Peanuts will be able to have so much fun playing Snoopy Pop.”

Jam City has made a science out of turning some of the world’s largest entertainment franchises and brands into hit mobile games. The mobile gaming publisher is the creator of 6 of the Top 100 Highest Grossing games played in the United States across both iPhone and Android devices, including Panda Pop, the #1 bubble shooter in US and worldwide revenue over the past 12 months.

MonsterPalooza 2017 Photo Gallery

MonsterPalooza once again graced the Pasadena Convention Center with its presence. This year, the convention saw “Freddy Kruger” himself, Robert Englund, in attendance as well as Cassandra Peterson and many others. The convention had some terrific celebrity signing tables setup, and the main floor of the convention center was lined with exhibitors selling their Halloween/monster/genre related wares. There were booths from people like theatrical makeup company Ben Nye to silicone mask makers Immortal Masks. This year also saw the return of the museum which housed all manner of scary creations. While not being “scary” in the traditional sense, the sculpt of Robert Shaw as Quint from JAWS was easily the most striking. Check out the photo gallery below for a look! If you would like to attend MonsterPalooza in future years, check out their official website.

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Star Wars Battlefront II Officially Announced

ORLANDO, Florida – April 15, 2017Today at Star Wars Celebration, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), and Lucasfilm Ltd. announced that Star Wars™ Battlefront II will release on November 17, 2017 worldwide. Building upon the foundation of groundbreaking visuals and authenticity of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, DICE, Motive and Criterion are teaming up to deliver one of the most expansive Star Wars games to date. Star Wars Battlefront II will allow players to experience the untold story of an Imperial elite special forces soldier in an all-new single player campaign. In epic multiplayer battles, players will be able to pilot a First Order TIE fighter through intense dogfights in space, and play as ground troopers or iconic heroes and villains, such as Yoda and Darth Maul, across all three Star Wars eras.

“In Star Wars Battlefront II, we all wanted to really capture the essence of being heroic and how in Star Wars, anyone can become a hero,” says Matt Webster, Executive Producer at Criterion. “Whether that’s playing as an iconic character like Rey or Luke, as a front-line trooper or fighter pilot in epic multiplayer battles, or playing through a newStar Wars story that bridges the gap between Star Wars™: Return of the Jedi™ and Star Wars™: The Force Awakens™, you will become a hero in Star Wars Battlefront II.”

Featuring new characters created by Motive in close partnership with the story group at Lucasfilm, the Star WarsBattlefront II single player campaign will deliver a new exciting story to the Star Wars universe. Taking place in the 30 years between the destruction of Death Star II and through the rise of the First Order, the single player story introduces Iden Versio, the leader of Inferno Squad, an elite special forces unit of the Galactic Empire, who are equally lethal on the ground and in space. In addition to Iden, players will also encounter and play as other iconic Star Wars heroes and villains like Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren during the campaign.

“EA has assembled an incredible set of developers to create a Star Wars gaming experience unlike anything fans have ever experienced,” said Douglas Reilly, Senior Director, Digital & Franchise Management. “Star Wars Battlefront II will offer everything players loved about the last installment, and adds new modes that we know the fans want, including an entirely new story developed in partnership with Lucasfilm.”

“We wanted to create a campaign that told a story we haven’t seen before in Star Wars”, says Mark Thompson, Game Director at Motive Studios. “It was important for us to tell a new authentic story, one that gives players a brand-new perspective. By putting players in the boots of an elite member of the Imperial forces, we can show them what the battle was like from the other side.”

In addition to the all-new single player campaign, the team at DICE is evolving the game’s multiplayer to become the ultimate Star Wars battleground. With modes supporting up to 40 players, Star Wars Battlefront II takes fans through a wide range of iconic locations from all three eras: prequel, classic and new trilogy, including new in-game locations such as Yavin 4’s jungle canopies, the spaceport town of Mos Eisley, and Starkiller Base. Players can choose from an array of land and air vehicles and master their own hero’s journey, with customizable character progression across heroes, villains, troopers and starfighters.

As one of the most requested fan modes, galactic-scale space combat is also brought to life in Star Wars Battlefront II. Criterion, with a deep history of creating some of gaming’s fastest and intuitive vehicles, has built space combat from the ground up with refined handling, weapons, and customization options. Players can drop into the cockpit of the galaxy’s most iconic ships, weave between asteroid fields and fly through imperial dockyards in high stakes dogfights.

Fans who pre-order Star Wars Battlefront II can join the excitement of the theatrical release of Star Wars™: The Last Jedi™, with content inspired by the upcoming film including exclusive* Kylo Ren and Rey themed looks†. Players can also equip both characters with epic ability upgrades in multiplayer. Additionally, when taking the fight to space, players can upgrade to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Millennium Falcon and a new First Order ship.

Players that order the Star Wars Battlefront II: Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition will not only have access to all the Star Wars: The Last Jedi inspired pre-order content, found in Star Wars Battlefront II: The Last Jedi Heroes, but can also dominate the battlefront as the ultimate Star Wars elite trooper. Every trooper class will receive upgrades, delivering superior firepower, deadly weapon modifications and epic combat abilities. Deluxe Edition owners will also get a head start on the battlefront, being able to jump into the game up to three days early†.

Star Wars Battlefront II will be available worldwide on November 17th, 2017 on PlayStation®4, Xbox One™, and on Origin for PC. Players looking to get into the game earlier can do so with the Star Wars Battlefront II: Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition starting on November 14th, or through the Play First Trials on EA Access and Origin Access‡ startingNovember 9th.

To join the Star Wars Battlefront conversation please visit www.facebook.com/EAStarWars, follow us on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/EAStarWars or sign up for the official EA Star Wars newsletter at http://starwars.ea.com/newsletter.

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Trailer

Destinies are revealed in the final season of Star Wars Rebels.

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Knott’s Berry Farm 2017 Boysenberry Festival

Once again, Knott’s Berry Farm has brought its prized boysenberries into the spotlight with their annual Boysenberry Festival. Running until April 23, the festival sees several stations setup around the park’s Ghost Town area with boysenberry themed foods to purchase and enjoy. Also gracing the park for the festival are some new shows to enjoy such as Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jamboree!

Of the boysenberry flavored offerings this year, I was once again enamored with the “Fun Bun”. A deep fried cinnamon roll with sweet boysenberry frosting… It’s really an amazing treat. Also great were the boysenberry meatballs and boysenberry pana cotta. Also of note is the boysenberry fry bread, which is located over at the churro factory.  The dishes I could have done without were the boysenberry ravioli (I applaud their effort but it just didn’t work for me) and the boysenberry pizza. Of course, the park has its standard restaurants and watering holes open for guests during the festival, so the choice is yours. Knott’s Berry Farm is once again offering their $25 dollar tasting card for sale so that guests can get a little sampling of a number of boysenberry treats. Unfortunately, the fun bun is not on the tasting card, so you’ll have to pick that up separately, but I digress. If you are looking for liquid refreshment, you can find boysenberry cream soda as well as a host of craft wines and beers in the Craft Wine and Beer Garden, located within the Wilderness Dance Hall. There are some great local wineries and breweries on display here, so if you are over 21 and interested, be sure to check it out!

Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jamboree is a fun show for the whole family which takes place at the new Calico Stage and features dancing, singing, and your favorite Peanuts characters. Also fun to take in is Old MacDonald’s Barn over near the Ghost Town windmill. Inside, you will find horses, burros, and all sorts of animals for the kids to look at. At certain times, you can even watch them shear some sheep! It’s how shirts are made, people, and harmless for the innocent sheep.There is also a new Melodrama in the Bird Cage Theater, which is always a fun time. The Bird Cage Theater players are a talented lot and allow a lot of improv to come through with their performances, which just adds to the fun!

Overall, the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival is a fun day trip that will entertain and fill you up. Between the new boysenberry flavored treats and the entertainment options available to guests, Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is always a great time!

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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 4K Upgrade Review

The good people over at Universal Studios Hollywood’s PR team allowed us entry into the park to check out the upgraded Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction located within the park’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. Recently, the ride’s projection system was upgraded once again – this time, to ultra-high definition 4K resolution and a higher frame rate of 120 FPS! You might recall that, originally, the attraction opened with a 3D projection system that relied on riders to wear special 3D goggles. The ride experience left something to be desired, so the park smartly transitioned the ride back to 2D. The standard definition version of the ride was immensely-fun, but you could see a lot of blur in the image quality of the projection system. This is party due to the fact that the ride video is rear projected onto curved screens. So with the 4K upgrade, I just had to come out and experience the ride again – at least it would provide a good excuse for drinking more butterbeer!

Arriving at the park early, one of the Universal Studios PR team members escorted us onto the attraction and actually rode it with us as she had yet to experience it for herself. The ride was a blast and the 4K update is very noticeable, especially if you rode it prior to the upgrade. The video is still a bit blurry, but nowhere near the degree it was before and it is a lot easier to track the action on the screen thanks to the enhanced frame rate. I didn’t notice any other upgrades to the ride aside from the new projection system, but that’s not a bad thing as the ride is pretty amazing as it is.

After riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, we went over to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and had a big American breakfast plate with eggs and bacon. Of all the dining experiences inside Universal Studios Hollywood, this restaurant has consistently been the best since its launch a year ago. Their variety of food – from breakfast platters to shepard’s pie to so much more is prepared well and features great taste. Unfortunately, I did find out that the hot butterbeer which wowed me during the Winter is no more. It appears to be a seasonal beverage and I can’t wait for the end of the year to see it come back. In the meantime, I will “make do” with my favorite frosty drink, the frozen butterbeer.

Universal Studios Hollywood is open daily. Check out their official website for ticket information and more.

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WonderCon 2017 Photo Gallery

Another WonderCon has come and gone, and we are left with nothing but fond memories of the San Diego Comic-Con’s little brother. Each year, we watch WonderCon grow, and this year saw some great expansions to the event – it has even more panels as well as a huge amount of vendor space for those of you seeking to purchase your geekly desires. While we were there, we saw a multitude of cosplayers showcasing their costuming abilities – my favorite being the rebel trooper who gets ran through with Darth Vader’s lightsaber at Rogue One’s conclusion. We also got the chance to take in the Geek & Sundry “Talks Machina” panel, featuring the cast of their loved Critical Role web series. Overall, WonderCon is an amazing convention that Orange County geeks should make it a point to visit. You will not regret it!

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Total War: WARHAMMER 2 Announced

LONDON – March 31, 2017 – SEGA® Europe Ltd. today announced the next game in the best-selling Total War: WARHAMMER trilogy. Total War: WARHAMMER II will be the second release in an ongoing partnership between globally-acclaimed developer Creative Assembly™ and Games Workshop®, creators of the world-renowned Warhammer® Fantasy Battles tabletop wargame and miniatures.

Total War: WARHAMMER II unveils the mystery-shrouded continents far to the west of The Old World. Featuring four iconic new races from the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world – the High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen, and a fourth yet to be revealed – players will battle across enchanted isles, bleak hinterlands, treacherous swamps, and perilous jungles.

In a Total War campaign like no other, players will struggle for dominion over the ailing Great Vortex that has swirled for millennia above the elven homeland of Ulthuan. Performing a series of arcane rituals, each race must save or disrupt the Vortex according to their motivations – a struggle culminating in a cataclysmic endgame. Territorial conquest is no longer enough… this is a race for control that will define the fate of the world!

Total War: WARHAMMER II will offer hundreds of hours of immersive gameplay in this epic new campaign. Furthermore, a huge combined campaign map featuring the old and new world regions will be available for free shortly after release to players who own both Total War: WARHAMMER I & II.

“Total War: WARHAMMER II represents the next step in our trilogy, our vision for the most incredible fantasy strategy series ever made,” said Game Director, Ian Roxburgh. “The success of the first game has increased our ambition; we’re not only going to deliver a thrilling campaign in the sequel, but also an additional combined campaign, the biggest so far, for owners of both.”

“We’re thrilled to see the sequel to last year’s smash hit Total War: Warhammer coming later this year.” Said Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing at Games Workshop. “Sega and The Creative Assembly continue to astound us with their ability in crafting the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world in further glorious pageantry, with races never realised on this scale before in a video game. We are proud to be in partnership with them on this next great step in the franchise.”

Total War™: WARHAMMER® II for PC will be available in 2017, watch the announce trailer here.

For the latest news about this title and other Total War games in development, visit www.totalwar.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Total War’s YouTube Channel for future news about gameplay videos.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 Gets Release Date

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 28, 2017) – Wreck-It Ralph is escaping out of his arcade and into the expansive universe of the internet next year when “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” hits the big screen. Dave Hollis, head of distribution for The Walt Disney Studios, revealed the much-anticipated sequel’s title and told CinemaCon attendees that Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer would be returning to the roster.

Also returning are the team behind the original “Wreck-It Ralph,” who won an Oscar® last month for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ billion-dollar-box-office-blockbuster “Zootopia.” Directors Rich Moore (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and Phil Johnston (writer, “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Zootopia,” “Cedar Rapids”), and producer Clark Spencer (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Bolt”) are hard at work on the movie. “To take these characters we love and have them enter the enormous world of the internet has given us so much to explore,” said Moore. “Our production team has been hard at work designing a world that takes something we all think we know – the internet – but shows it in a whole new, imaginative way.”

Added Johnston, “We’re so excited to be working with Ralph, Vanellope von Schweetz, Fix-It Felix and Sergeant Calhoun again, and we have new characters we look forward to unveiling. At the center of this film, as in the first one, is the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, two once-outcasts, who in each other, found true friendship.”

When “Wreck-It Ralph” opened on Nov. 2, 2012, it turned in the highest opening weekend ever for a Walt Disney Animation Studios film at the time of release. Nominated for an Oscar® and Golden Globe® for best animated feature, “Wreck-It Ralph” won the PGA Award for outstanding producer of an animated theatrical motion picture as well as five Annie Awards, including best animated feature, director, cast and screenplay. The film was named best animated feature by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, earned outstanding achievement in casting for an animated feature by the Casting Society of America, and won the Kids’ Choice Award for favorite animated movie.

“Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” hits U.S. theaters on March 9, 2018.

VR Showdown in Ghost Town at Knott’s Berry Farm Review

More and more theme parks are beginning to integrate virtual reality into their attractions these days. The most recent of the bunch is Knott’s Berry Farm, which teamed up with VRstudios to create a VR arcade experience called VR Showdown in Ghost Town. Recently, I was able to check the VR game out at a preview event, and I have some thoughts which I wanted to bring to you, dear readers. I arrived at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park at about 6:15 PM. I greeted the PR folks, got my appointment time to play the game, and then went into the park for some grub. It was rainy, and the way the light reflected off the wet ground made for some very cool photographs.

At my designated appointment time, I moseyed over to the Boardwalk Arcade, which is located beneath the park’s Voyage to the Iron Reef attraction. They recently rennovated the arcade to have a number of modern arcade enjoyments as well as make use of their own card to magnetically store credits on. You load your card up at stations in the arcade then swipe them in the machines instead of depositing quarters like in the days of old.

The VR Showdown in Ghost Town is located in an offshoot room of the arcade, and is set up like a secret office of Dr Welles. For you Knott’s historians out there, you might recognize that name from the venerable Kingdom of the Dinosaurs attraction which used to reside where the Iron Reef is today. It seems that all of Dr Welles’ offices were not converted, and his secrets are still being shared with us today. Once you swipe your arcade card through the swiper (each person pays $6 dollars to go into the VR experience), you will be escorted in pairs of two  into rooms where an assistant of Dr Welles will brief you on safety and the use of the VR gear.

VRstudios is using a proprietary system which handles large scale room tracking, on a bigger scale than the HTC Vive. The play space of the VR Showdown in Ghost Town is 20 feet by 17 feet in dimension and each room is lined with infrared sensors to track the position of the gear. The VR goggles (for lack of a better term) are mildly comfortable, but you will not be able to adjust the interpupillary distance of the two lenses and my head, being a bit larger than most, was squeezed a bit. If you have a large head, please ask the attendant about adjustments. Once the headset is donned, they hand you your gun and then put the headphones on your noggin. The gun is an articulated prop, with several tracking pylons on its edges. The gun prop feels right in the hand and the trigger squeeze, while a bit stiff, will hopefully lighten up after a while.

There is a general VR lobby where you can get used to the visuals, shooting, etc until the attendant activates the game. You can turn your head and see the head and gun of your partner, which helps to avoid colliding with them throughout the game. Unfortunately, this is where things get a bit shaky, literally. Unfortunately, the resolution of the VR headset is a bit low and the refresh rate is set to 60 Hz. This causes some slight visual “stuttering” and actually caused me to get a bit off-balance during a couple twists and ducks I had to perform. The nice thing about the VR game is it is truly meant for players to move around the space and duck behind cover when needed. Also adding to the disorientation effect is that the headset’s field of view is somewhat limited in comparison to a Rift or Vive unite. That might be okay if the refresh rate were increased to 90 Hz, but I digress. Adding to this effect was the fact that I LOVED the system’s wireless capabilities. Their VR headset units have NO WIRES connecting you to anything else. You are truly “free to roam about the cabin” as it were, and so I did.

That being said, the times in which you can stand in one place and shoot straight ahead in the game are outstanding as the image is relatively static (save for bad guys and the like). During these moments, the refresh rate issue did not bother me. This also allowed me to make full use of the 1:1 aiming/shooting provided by VRstudios’ array of tracking sensors.

Overall, the VR Showdown in Ghost Town is a fun arcade experience, but I would not recommend playing if you have ever gotten motion sickness or dizziness from a VR game in the past. Even if you have only had minor dizziness, I guarantee you that the VR Showdown in Ghost Town will bring it out of you like nothing else. That being said, I can’t think of another theme park or arcade that has anything like this attraction right now. It truly is revolutionary, and I hope this is just the start of things to come.

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