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November 2008


Hi everyone!

I’m Alexander from Russia and I work for iWin. As many other iWin employees I like my job. I like casual games and I “infected” my girlfriend, my mom and some of my friends with a love of these great games. It wasn’t hard, they just saw how I play hidden object games!

Today I’d like to tell about my favorite characters in casual games. Although I haven’t played every casual game, I try to play most of them. There are a lot of games, everyone has a favorite genres, favorite games and favorite characters too. And here are my top-3 people in games:

 

 

 

1) Sara from the Ranch Rush. One of the best farm sim games I’ve ever played. And Sara, she is pretty and a hard worker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Gordon Ramsay from the Hell’s Kitchen. He’s very serious man. What do you feel when he is looking at you? Work faster and don’t upset the boss :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) The funny cat from the Snowy Lunch Rush. Snowy Lunch Rush was the first casual game that became attractive for me. I like cats (you may see Masya photo on post about our pets), and every time I saw him I clicked him, did you try?

 

 

 

 

 

So I’d like to ask you: who is your favorite game character and why do you like him or her?

 

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I was all set to write about Lavender’s Botanicals today.  It’s an awesome new tycoon game much in the style of Chocolatier and Chocolatier 2.  Instead of traveling the world in search of exotic ingredients to make fancy chocolates, you’re traveling the world in seach of exotic ingredients to make fancy beauty products.  Aside from a couple of little quibbles – it would be really nice if it told me how many days of production I have left based on my ingredient inventory.  I don’t like secret math in my game! – Lavender’s Botanicals nicely fills the void left by the Chocolatier games, but the cravings for fancy lotions are probably much better for me than the cravings induced by Chocolatier!

Ok, so I ended up talking about Lavender’s Botanicals a little bit, but what I really wanted to talk about is Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!

If you love the other  Nancy Drew games, you’ll most likely love this one as well.  Even if you’re not a fan of the games, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. 

The first thing you’ll notice is that at 253MB, it’s a much smaller download than the others, which tend to run about 800MB+! 

The second thing you’ll notice is that while it’s still a story based adventure game with a well written storyline and dialogue, great voice acting and fun logic puzzles, they’ve very successfully added a hidden object element to the game play.  There are also clearly defined levels in which you need to find clues and combine them in order to complete the level objective and advance through the story line.

During the dialogue scenes, there’s a clever mini game.  You choose Nancy’s next line, but you need to choose the correct response based on what has happened in the story.  Get the line right and you get higher points.  You also get points during the levels by successfully combing objects and actions, and there’s a point bonus for chaining the combos without any wrong moves.  At the end of the game, if you get the maxium points, you get a special ending!

I have finished the game, but I did not get the special ending…  Luckily it’s still fun my second time through.

But why take my word for it when you can watch the video?

But why watch the video when you can play the game?

 

Have you checked out iWin Games today? Well if not, you should! We are running a 50% off sale on ALL GAMES through Thanksgiving weekend. I don’t know about you, but even in the season of sales, I don’t see very many 50% off sales! They are always 25% off or something. But 50%? No way!

Oh and some little birdies have told me that not only do we have some great games out now, but some more are on the way this coming week.  So get ready to play!

To get your discount, just enter GOBBLE at checkout.  Discount does not apply to backup CDs or iCoins purchases.

                         

So my husband and I recently bought a home… our first home! It was very emotional and exciting… and a little nerve-wracking! Not only do we now have a mortgage that get to worry about, we also actually have to fix everything that is wrong, instead of just calling up our not-so-friendly ex-landlord. But I would say that overall, the positives thus far greatly outweigh the negatives and every small challenge has somehow become an exciting hurdle that we hold hands and jump over together.

In thinking about this blog post, I was wondering how I could tie my recent purchase into casual games. Of course, there are some obvious tie-ins- Home Sweet Home comes to mind initially. But the more obvious one to me was Nanny Mania, which seemed very apropos. In Nanny Mania, you run around, taking care of children, their parents and well, essentially you run the entire house. That is how I feel lately. Although, I guess in my case, I am my own nanny, running after my dogs, my husband and the never-ending mess. Sad!

In performing this exercise of comparing my life to games, I came across a surprising conclusion. I mean, I never felt that I was much of a “gamer”. When I started working for a casual games company, I really didn’t expect that I would become a “gamer”. In a lot of ways, I have and in other ways I haven’t. I have found some games that I absolutely adore (Dream Chronicles anyone?) and others that drive me mad with frustration. But overall, as I get older and get more responsibilities in my life, both professionally and personally, I find that the games we create not only provide a treasured sense of escape from the daily mundane but sometimes, scarily, I can really relate to the people, stories and gameplay. Am I turning into a game character or are these developers dissecting my life and turning my life into a game?!

Regardless of the answer, I thought it was an interesting exercise. So I turn the question back to you- What game best represents your life at the moment? This should be interesting!

Today we released Alice Greenfingers 2 on iWin.  I’ve been playing it a lot.  No wait, more like A LOT.  I’m starting to feel a little guilty.  Sure, playing games is part of my job, but probably not this much.

The objective is pretty simple.  You dig up a little land, plant some seeds, harvest when ripe and take them to the market to sell.   It’s super easy to pick up and just start playing.  The trick is being able to stop.  Seriously, if someone knows this trick, please share it!

You play as Alice, who is helping out her lazy Uncle Berry run his farm.  Uncle Berry gives you goals and tasks to complete while he sits on the porch and doesn’t do much else.  He’s actually a little annoying… And in that bit where he talks about the locked closet that he finally found they key for?  A little creepy!  But he goes away after awhile, hooray!

After each day/level, you get to choose one upgrade; expand the size of the farm, raising the market price of one of your crops, a decorative item, animals such as sheep, cows and chickens that you can sell wool. milk and eggs from, or a plain old cash bonus. 

Don’t get suckered into taking the cash!  I know it’s tempting, but you’re going to need those upgrades, especially expanding the size of your farm.

Then it’s all about the planting, harvesting and selling, and that’s when the “just one more level…Ok, one more level…no really, I’m quitting after this level…” begins.  For me, it’s all about getting new upgrades and seeing what will be available next. 

I’m actually not a big fan of most time management games, but I love the farm simulation games such as Alice Greenfingers, Farm Frenzy and Ranch Rush.  At first I thought it was just the frantic pace that I didn’t like, but those games can get pretty frantic too. 

I finally realized it was the faces.  In games like Diner Dash, when you’re not moving fast enough, your patrons start to look irritated.  This actually makes me feel a little defensive.  And yes, I realize how lame that is!  And probably a little crazy as well.  We can go over all that at my intervention.

As a small token of our appreciation for the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Services, and their families, iWin is offering 50% off all games through Thursday, November 13th.

 

Enter coupon code USPRIDE at checkout to receive 50% off your order.

We thank you, and wish you well.

 

As a lifelong gamer, I’ve always found some of the “woman-friendly” themes in casual games mildly amusing.  Guys get to live out their gaming fantasies as raging orcs, mercenary soldiers, bloodthirsty vampires and genetically engineered uber-warriors, while we women are resigned to being hurried waitresses, busy bakers and perky fashionistas (although admittedly, I do love me some Jojo’s Fashion Show from time to time). Doesn’t seem quite fair does it?  Thankfully, there are also some great games that offer alternatives to babies, food and weddings.  Here are a couple of my current favorites:

 

 
You play the fiancée of a brilliant scientist who has to chase her vanished scientist boyfriend through time (points off for not actually letting you be a scientist and relegating you to the girlfriend role).  Despite that, this game rocks it.  There’s time travel, cemetery robots from the future, and freaking dinosaurs.  The dialog is hilarious and the gameplay is clever.  The clutter in most Hidden Object games makes my OCD go into overdrive and I usually end up desperate for a power-up that would automagically organize everything onto neat little shelves for me.  This isn’t the case with Mushroom Age, where the clutter actually makes sense and you don’t get the feeling that random objects were just lazily pasted onto a scene.  There are also various uses for the objects you find, so it has a little bit of a puzzle aspect to it.
 

 

 
This game is triply awesome and let’s you play as three different women who don’t sell ice cream, bake cakes or babysit for a living.  Instead, you get three different perspectives of a murder investigation, as a homicide detective, a forensics analyst and a crime reporter.  The best part:  corpses!  As part of your investigation, you uncover bodies of the murder victims and get to examine their grisly remains close-up.  The overall tone is pretty eerie and the artwork is beautiful (the corpses are especially pretty).  I haven’t finished this game yet, but I’m hoping when I do, it will also solve the bafflingly mystery of how James Patterson has become America’s No. 1 best-selling author. 
 
Anyway, that’s what I’m digging at the moment.  How about you?  Do you like any games that are a little different from the norm?
 
 
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Hi everybody, and Happy Friday!

It’s been a good week, and now it’s Friday and I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy because all you nice people are checking out the iWin blog!

That makes me feel…generous!  So I made a special 25% off coupon code just for you guys!

Simply add the game (or games!) you want to the cart and enter coupon code HAPPYFRIDAY when you’re ready to check out, and you’ll get 25% off your order!

Backup CDs and iCoins purchases aren’t included in this offer.

Everywhere you go this morning, people are buzzing over the results from last night’s election results. From the second I woke up, I knew it… without even speaking with anyone else. I took my dogs on a walk and passed all of the morning papers, shouting out their proclamations. Then, on the train to work, you could easily overhear people’s reactions… some of joy, others of disbelief. The lady next to me saw that I had a paper and for the first time in my commuting history (3+ years), she anxiously asked me if she could borrow my paper when I was through… because there were no papers left at the newsstand that she had passed.

I won’t tell you how I personally felt about the results, but I will say that my husband and I differ in our political beliefs so there was a mixture of emotions at Chez Lulu. All I can tell you is that my two little puppies had an interesting evening because although they couldn’t tell what was going on, they knew that there was some excitement and decided to join in by barking/jumping. It got a little crazy, to tell the truth.

But so here is the thing… my job at iWin.com is Marketing. That means, it is my job to get to know you guys… know what you think, believe, want etc. And today I am interested in knowing you, outside of your beliefs about casual games (although I still definitely want to know about that too!). Are you guys happy with the results? Are you hopeful for the future? or are you, like many Americans, simply happy that the 21 months of preparation has come to an end?

I know you guys are probably hearing it from everyone, everywhere you go… and therefore hopefully, you already know that today is Election Day! So please go out and vote… make your voice heard… your candidate or your proposition may not win (but maybe it will!) but it is important that you have a hand in the outcome….
So put down that game (just for a second!) and cast your ballot. Then go back to the game…

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