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An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Navy is paying a company six figures to hack into used video game consoles and extract sensitive information. The tasks to be completed are for both offline and online data. The organization says it will only use the technology on consoles belonging to nations overseas, because the law doesn't allow it to be used on any 'U.S. persons.'" Should be a doddle.

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Moe Mekuri series developer Kohei's latest Xbox Live Indie Games release has arrived, and its premise is...certainly unique.

The Houchi Play (Neglect Play) stars the 56-year-old Taro Heibon, "a timid buddy who wants to reveal the true self and feel the heavenly bliss." Though he's been happily married for 30 years, Taro's secret desire is to be verbally abused by women dressed in cosplay outfits. Gathering his courage, he decides to live out his fantasy for just one night by visiting a cosplay bar.

Taro starts each level on the left side of the screen, while a cosplay hostess awaits at the other end of the room. By pressing the left and right triggers on the Xbox 360 controller, players slowly scoot Taro toward the right side of the screen...but only while the woman's back is turned, or else Taro presumably dies of embarrassment.

While shuffling his way toward cosplay bliss, Taro can chug nearby bottles of alcohol to boost his courage (and movement speed). In later rounds, random events can either distract the hostesses or make them more aware of Taro's presence. It soon becomes very challenging!

The Houchi Play is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

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hypnosec writes "While you might have often heard that PC gaming is dying — detractors have been claiming this for over a decade — one developer has a different take: that consoles are the ones on the way out. In a 26-minute presentation at GDC — available now as a slideshow with a voice-over — Ben Cousins, who heads mobile/tablet game maker ngmoco, uses statistics of electronic and gaming purchases, along with market shares of developers and publishers from just a few years ago, to come to some surprising conclusions. The old guard, including the three big console manufacturers — Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft — are losing out when compared with the new generation of gaming platform developers: Facebook, Apple and Google. With the new companies, the size of the audience is vastly increased because of their focus on tablets, mobile and browser-based gaming."

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Microsoft today announced that downloadable games on its popular Xbox Live Arcade service will soon be able to offer more Achievement Points—those cross-game digital accomplishment trackers that are great for proving just how much time you've wasted playing Geometry Wars. Starting in April, XBLA game makers will have the option of including 30 Achievements worth up to 400 points in their games, up from current limits of 20 Achievements and 200 points. Starting in June, those new levels will be mandatory for all downloadable games.

At first glance, this news would seem to be important only to a particular breed of obsessive Achievement hunter, the kind with a six-digit Gamerscore and a video series explaining how to quickly find new Achievements. But it could also be seen as an effort by Microsoft to increase the apparent value of its downloadable games for a specific subsegment of the audience.

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dog1.pngToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

Shank 2: The Official Blog: An Unexpected Learning
"Immediately, we saw a huge improvement: players were much less likely to simply mash their way into a fight, and started experimenting with different moves and strategies. We would never have figured this out just by thinking and theorizing about the problem."

Randomnine: DOG [Cardinal Quest 2]
"Yup. I have added a dog to this game. It has created an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION. I am now Peter Molyneux."

IndieWire: Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #26: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, 'Indie Game: The Movie' "The film is about what it's like to create in a digital age. What it's like [to] create under the Internet microscope. How [it] feels [to] put yourself out there and expose yourself to the real-time social media feedback."

True PC Gaming: Dustforce Preview: Sublime Housekeeping
"The beautiful thing at work in this game is the balanced level of challenge that Super Meat Boy simply did not have; players are eased into the trials of the game in a challenging, yet comfortable learning curve."

DIY Gamer: Osmos Hits Android on Tuesday
"Hemisphere Games passes along word that their award-winning ambient title Osmos will arrive on the Android Market on Tuesday, January 17th for $4.99."

Armless Octopus: The Top 10 Xbox Live Indie Games of 2011
"You won't find any spurious Minecraft rip-offs or something that is impressive merely because it's like some other game, only not nearly as cool. This list represents everything that is distinctive about Xbox Live Indie games."

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Last week at Unite, the Unity team gave an overview of considerations developers need to take into account when targeting console platforms like XLBA, Wii, PS3, and when using input devices like the Kinect. In this article I'll break it down for you.

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I've finally been getting around to playing the Xbox Live Indie Games that were released as part of the Indie Games Summer Uprising promotion, and a stand-out release for me is Speedrunner HD. The name says it all - it's a speed-runner that sees you getting from A to B in the fastest time possible.

The single-player campaign is fine, if a little short, and revolves around you dashing towards bombs and defusing them. However, it's the multiplayer where this game really shines. Up to four players rush around a looping track, with the old Micro Machines mechanic that if one person gets further ahead than all the others, they win the point.

Along the way, players can hit switches and grab power-ups to make the path more difficult for the other players. Each player has three lives, and when you run out of all of them, you're out of there. If the action goes on for too long and no-one is dying, Sudden Death occurs, and a box around the screen starts to get smaller and smaller... it's incredibly tense stuff, and simply amazing to play.

Currently one of my favourite Xbox Live Indie Games - I was playing with friends for hours last night. Hopefully it'll get a port to PC with online multiplayer, because that would sell by the bucketload. If you're looking for a good local multiplayer game, make sure you grab this one.

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Near, Party, LiveArea and Activity.

Sony has revealed more information on PlayStation Vita's online modes Near, Party, LiveArea and Activity.

Near is like the Nintendo 3DS' SpotPass. It's "a location-based gifting system", according to Sony Europe manager of R&D, Phil Rogers.

"What Near does is it allows users to discover each other, leave gifts for each other and essentially find out more about games. You can see where people are in relation to your location, their five most recently played games and also gifts that they've registered. This is fairly cool because it exposes users to games they might not have heard of and you can see how popular those games are and how people are rating them," explained Rogers at the Develop Conference 2011.


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