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Aurora Feint Co-Founder Danielle Cassley Announces New Studio and First Game, Avengees

Posted by Jeff Scott on December 4th, 2012

It's been a long time since we've heard from Danielle Cassley. Please indulge me in this short trip down memory lane. Ms. Cassley is one of the co-founders of Aurora Feint. Aurora Feint was our first app review way way back in 2008 here at 148Apps. Sadly, the Aurora Feint games have been removed from the App Store probably due to their reliance on the soon to be shutters OpenFeint. They were and interesting part of the App Store history and will be missed. Aurora Feint the games company eventually became OpenFeint the social game network service as the demand for the social backend built into Aurora Feint became the focus. A couple years later, in April 2011, after great success, OpenFeint the company was purchased by GREE.

Ms. Cassley has always struck me as a superstar seemingly held back by other forces like corporate structure. Much like her co-founder of Aurora Feint, Jason Citron who started his own company recently, she has now started a new game studio to help build the games she wants to see made. The first game from her new company, Red Bird Studios is a joint venture with Velvet Architects and is titled Avengees.

We know little of Avengees so far. What we do know is that it's a physics based puzzler with turn-based multiplayer and it will be released for iOS in the coming weeks. We asked Danielle for a bit more about the game and what makes it unique.

"We are keeping game play a little under wraps for the next week or so. What I can tell you is players engage in an single player level based game where they unlock items for customizing their world. Their custom world then serves as the basis for multiplayer turn based battles with their friends."

Should be an interesting take on the asynchronous multiplayer game. We look forward to getting a closer look at the game in the coming weeks. For now, take a look at the first teaser trailer.

Immuno Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Danyel Rios on August 5th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: INFECTIOUS
Protect the vital organs from the invading hordes of viruses and bacteria! It is more fun then washing your hands.
Read The Full Review »

Favorite Four - Apps to Track Daily Free App Promos

Posted by Chantelle Joy Duxbury on April 6th, 2011

If you're a fan of our weekly FREEday posts, or a subscriber to the Price Drops list here on 148apps then you'll definitely want to read ahead as I rundown the best apps that will help you stay on top of current and limited time free promotions on the App Store.


The newest app on the Daily Free app scene, AppAllStar focuses mainly on game apps and promises to give a daily list of non-lite, full versions of apps away on promotion for a limited time. I really enjoy the user interface within this app, offering a calendar so you can see upcoming releases as well. It's a free app, so you've got nothing to loose by downloading and trying it out - except maybe some personal information. The iTunes rankings show a bit of discontent about the disclaimer that comes along with this app. Lets just hope they're using the info about what games get downloaded most often to bring us better options in the future.

Free App A Day

This is the big-daddy, the most popular Daily Free app site and app. While ad supported, you'll get a daily recommendation for free apps. I personally find the layout a bit more trying, but the paid version is slightly better. Also in the paid version you'll find an entire section devoted to non-game apps (for those of us that don't exclusively use our iOS device for games). Whichever version you get, some of the top-name apps have used FreeAppADay.com to promote their games, so it's pretty well known you're going to get quality recommendations and downloads with FAAD.

Game Channel by OpenFeint

Before Apple decided to built their own in-house Game Center, OpenFeint reined supreme as the best leaderboard/multiplayer in-app addition to make makes more interactive and personal. While it's still very popular it also launched it's own Free Daily App service early in the year, and has become one of the most popular in the App Store. What's more is they also promotes 'Fire Sale's so that you'll find that games that are on sale as well. The app is one of the best designed in this category, easy and fun to use. You've got to try this one out.

App Shopper

For those who might not be as interested in simply downloading whatever is free each day, but want to spend some time comparing their options, I highly suggest App Shopper. Offering a list of what's on sale, the ability search by category (brilliant - simply my favorite part), compiling a wish list, and many more useful features, this is by far more useful and functional that the others. While it is free, it's also ad supported with the option to upgrade to the non-ad version for only $0.99 as an in-app purchase. For the slightly more discriminating app-aholics this is a great tool to have in your pocket.

Don't forget to check with our RSS Feeds for fantastic info about Free Games and Price Drops or if you're serious, and want to get info as quick as possible, definitely follow @148apps_pdrops on Twitter! Have a fantastic and fun week with all your new free apps!

Does Anyone Really Care About Apple's GameCenter?

Posted by Chris Hall on August 20th, 2010

Being an app reviewer, I think that I play more games than the average person. I personally don't have much of a genre preference, although I do enjoy games that let me upgrade my character(s) or towers, and I have no sort of fan-affiliation with any specific game companies. Deep down in my heart, I also really don't understand what the big deal is with these "social game centers."

A friend made a comment to me about an article that I wrote about OpenFeint going multiplatform, and it rung a bell in my head. He said, "Why are people making such a big fuss about GameCenter?" and then looked at me like I should have some sort of profound answer. The answer was a garbled message about the unification of gaming and blah blah blah (I'm letting out my inner Steve Ballmer). Truth be told, I really don't care about GameCenter that much at all. In fact, I think the whole social gaming platform is pretty ridiculous because developers really aren't grasping what social gaming is all about.

The only company, in my opinion, that has really gotten it right is Com2Us with Homerun Battle 3D. If you read my articles and reviews, I talk about this game like it's the next coming of Wonderbread, and it really is that good (and nutritious). I'm not the only one who thinks so either. According to Mobile Entertainment, "players have notched up more than 60 million online match-ups, totalling 480 million minutes spent battering baseballs out of the game's virtual stadium," all without the help of a giant social gaming platform backing. With that game, I genuinely care about the competition and get disappointed when my bitter rivals aren't online. The joy of the system though is that you don't have to go into another bland page to get some simple high score information, it's all integrated into the game.

On a customer level, I really don't think that there is any advantage to using a service like OpenFeint. I don't mean to knock the service, because it does provide an easy to use area to display global high scores, but it doesn't, in my opinion, add anything to the game experience. I've never invited anyone to a game or used the included IM service, and I really don't think that the overall score I have makes me want to play OpenFeint games any more. To me, there's just a bunch of fluff surrounding a game that doesn't really nurture any sort of competitive spirit. It's just a nice place for my high score to be displayed.

The only real advantage that I see, for an average gamer, to a unified GameCenter is that my user name will be the same on all the high score lists, and this really only matters if I get into the top 25 of a specific game. I'm not going to go search through a bunch of lists to find my friends in the top 5,000, I just want to see how high of a score I need to get to enter the top 25.

The key to social gaming success doesn't lie in unifying the platform or stamping your logo on a bunch of games, it's partnering with developers to make the online experience unique. Nothing about GameCenter will stop me from playing ngmoco games that are on the Plus+ Network because my game purchases are all about the games.

If GameCenter really aspires to be anything near what X-Box Live is, it needs to be so much more that it seems to be shaping up into. I need to able to use my phone as an X-Box headset to talk trash to the people I'm playing against. I need to, within the games, see which of my friends are playing ANY game network wide, not just that specific game. Not only that, but I need to be able to send someone a challenge to another for one game, and while they are playing another game, get my challenge request in some kind of instant notification. I'm not going to check my e-mail for game invites, I want to be able to do it all on the fly. I need all the games need to be connected, all the time.

Until then, "social gaming" on the iPhone just seems like blah, blah, blah, blah (my inner Ballmer has me sweating with rage).

OpenFeint Platform Launches With Facebook Connect and Twitter User Authentication

Posted by Jeff Scott on March 19th, 2009

Today, Aurora Feint launched the version 1.0 release of their OpenFeint Mobile Social Gaming Platform. The platform, which has been in closed beta for a few weeks, includes leader boards and chat room functionality for applications that include it. Starting today, we should start to see updates from some of the publishers included in the 1.0 beta. The list of apps enrolled in the initial beta is impressive and includes games such as VectorTanks, PocketGod, 2079, Radio Flare and Lumen. The games were chosen across a wide range to show the versatility of the platform.

One of the key features with OpenFeint is the open authorization scheme. Users have the choice of authenticating into their OpenFeint account using either their Facebook, Twitter credentials, or neither. Future versions will include support for MySpaceID, OpenID, and anything else that they can get to work and makes sense.

The features of the 1.0 release, in use by the developers in the beta include:

- Player Accounts enabled with FbConnect and Twitter Integration -- users have the option of authenticating with these accounts or creating a new account.

- Developer Configured Leaderboards -- leader boards are very flexible, allowing the developers to tailor the leader boards to fit their games. Developers can sort the leader board as they choose and also create as many different ones as needed.

- Game Specific Chat Rooms -- chat rooms are also developer configurable and allow up to 50 users per chat room.

- Global Chat Rooms with Cross Promotion of Game Titles -- the global chat rooms are dynamically created as they start to fill up. There's a maximum of 50 users per chat room.

- Sample code and API are open source (GPL licensed) -- this allows the developer to modify both the display and the processing as needed and provides transparency. Some possible pitfalls could occur here, if the developer changes too much and things change though.

Additions for the 2.0 release, which is available for signup today, includes the integration of profiles and news feeds from Facebook and Twitter. Developers can apply for inclusion in the 2.0 version at http://www.openfeint.com.

Speaking with Danielle Cassley and Jason Citron, the developers of Aurora Feint, they are obviously excited about the possibilities that the notification service and other features in iPhone OS 3.0 can add to their platform. The ability to be notified instantly when your friends start a game, beat your high score, etc. are all very compelling.

Read the full press release after the jump.