Game Review: Pig Up!

Though it’s a Facebook exclusive, Pig Up! is a game that could easily be played on any platform. And that, in itself, is an incredible achievement. But the game’s real strength is its utterly addictive nature. It’s the video game equivalent of a potato chip: Playing just once is nearly impossible. Fighting to top your friend’s scores adds a fun, safe competitive edge to the game. It also motivates you to improve, since a special flapple is deployed — giving you thousands of points and three extra flaps — whenever you pass the most recent high score set by your friends.

The game is still in preview/beta mode and PopCap will likely be adding new power-ups and perhaps new enemies, but even in its incomplete state it’s one of the best games on the social network site.

Read more at Common Sense Media

Zynga’s IPO ka-ching

The long-awaited initial public offering for Zynga is reality — but as some investors celebrate, others wonder whether the numbers being discussed in conjunction with the company are a sign that we’re in the middle of another Internet stock bubble.

Zynga, the maker of massively popular Facebook games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, filed for an IPO Friday and said it plans to raise $1 billion — – a figure that is expected to go higher by the time its shares begin trading.

Read more at Daily Variety

Wasting away on Facebook: ‘Margaritaville’ game in the works

With his enduring anthems to margaritas, cheeseburgers and flip flops, you wouldn’t peg Jimmy Buffet to be much of a gamer. But with popular -Ville games like FarmVille and FrontierVille dominating people’s time online, it only makes sense that the man behind ‘Margaritaville’ would join the party at some point.

That point is now. Buffett and THQ are set to bring the tropically inspired Margaritaville Online to Facebook and Apple’s iDevices, packed with a hefty dose of classic Buffett songs, characters and virtual cheeseburgers.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

‘Civilization’ for Facebook due this summer

As if Facebook weren’t a big enough time suck, one of the most addictive titles in the video game industry is set to invade the social network.

“Civilization World,” which has been development for years and in closed beta testing for months, may finally go live to the general public this summer, says developer Sid Meier.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Activision: Call of Duty: Black Ops used more than Facebook

Every day, the average Facebook user spends 55 minutes clicking through the popular social networking site. That’s an impressive time sink — but players of Call of Duty: Black Ops have them beat.

Activision says since the First Strike downloadable content pack was released on February 1, players have averaged 58 minutes per day playing online. Given that the game itself is now over six months old, that’s a seriously dedicated fan base.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

App Review: Facebook for iPad with Chat – Pica HD

Facebook for iPad with Chat – Pica HD is, basically, a customized version of Facebook’s rather anemic touch site. Sure, you can navigate between your news feed, profiles, and inbox easily enough — and even choose a custom theme — but the shortcuts taken by the developer are quickly apparent. Chat, for instance, doesn’t stick with your chosen theme, and scrolling through your available friends list is not an intuitive process. Search was also hit and miss (mostly miss) during our testing. In addition, some links and buttons have issues with unresponsiveness. If they aren’t tapped in just the right spot, the action won’t register. And the inability to pinch and zoom photos is glaringly obvious. It is, at best, a so-so app that shows little to no ambition in moving Facebook forward on iDevices.

Read more at Common Sense Media

Interview: SOE’s Smedley On The Company’s Future

Gamasutra editor at large Chris Morris talks to Sony Online Entertainment’s John Smedley about the next generation of EverQuest, NGP development and why “You can bet our future is more console-based than it is PC-based.”

Before Thursday, there was a lot to talk about when it came to Sony Online Entertainment. Then the layoffs hit – and there was only one subject on people’s minds.

Unfortunately, my talk with SOE president John Smedley was held on Tuesday – long before even the rumors of layoffs had begun to swirl. And, not surprisingly, SOE wasn’t making him available after shutting down three of its studios and laying off 205 employees. So while there’s no look as to what led up to the Thursday axings, Smedley was still willing to look into the company’s future in the days leading up to it.

Read more at Gamasutra

After Six Years, EA Steps Up to the Plate with New MLB Game

When it comes to sports video games, Electronic Arts is largely viewed as the industry’s king. But for the past six years, the company has had a hole in its lineup: Major League Baseball.

With its hands tied due to an exclusivity agreement between MLB and Take-Two Interactive Software, EA has had to ride the bench. Today, though, it’s stepping back into the batter’s circle.