Star Trek Timelines is the next game from Disruptor Beam (Facebook)

When Disruptor Beam hinted to us earlier this week that its next game would be based on an IP even bigger than the one featured in the title that put the studio on the map, Game of Thrones Ascent, the natural reaction was skepticism. What could be bigger than the show so popular it crashed HBO Go during its season 4 premiere last Sunday?

As it turns out, what the Boston-based developer really meant is that it’s working with a brand that has withstood the fickle, ever-changing winds of pop culture fandom for decades. Get ready to seek out new life and new civilizations online and on mobile devices, as the company’s next project is Star Trek Timelines.

Described as a strategy RPG like Game of Thrones Ascent - and made possible by a license from CBS Consumer Products – the new game will draw on characters from The Original Series all the way through to Enterprise in a story-driven voyage that challenges players to explore the galaxy the Star Trek way. That means assembling a ship, gathering a crew and determining whether combat, diplomacy or science is the proper solution to any given situation (Kirk may add seduction in there too).

If that’s not enough to pique the interest of your inner Trekkie or Trekker, consider that Disruptor Beam CEO Jon Radoff sounds every bit the kindred spirit.

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Evil Genius Online Review (Facebook)

Gamezebo Rating: 60

To be blunt, Tears for Fears got it wrong. I wouldn’t want to rule the world in its current state. It’s just too much hassle. Now if I could do it in the style of a James Bond villain, well, that’s a different story. Evil Genius Online helps you do just that, assembling an army of henchmen and an array of cool gizmos fit for global domination. It’s all done with a wink, helping elevate what is otherwise a pretty average social game experience.

If that opening paragraph gave you thoughts of Gru from the first Despicable Me or the Monarch from Venture Bros., you’re on the right track. That’s if you didn’t play the original Evil Genius, the PC game released back in 2004. In any case, Evil Genius Online gives you an abandoned government silo, an ambitious assistant named Penny Foxworth and a couple of Minions to get your career as a criminal mastermind underway.

Evil Genius Online

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How the Games Industry Tried to Fool You Today (Facebook)

If you haven’t already noticed, it’s April Fool’s Day. Whether you figured it out by now from a bogus news article, a text from your Uncle telling you he’s won the lottery, or even or our shenanigans at Gamezebo, the day is celebrated around the world as a day of kind-hearted trickery. Like Halloween but with no treats, April Fool’s Day is celebrated by pretty much everyone, –from the science industry to the snack industry, no one is safe.

Gamers are certainly not excluded from the fun, as evidenced by this huge list of pranks seen throughout the games industry today.

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Evil Genius Online Walkthrough (Facebook)

Evil Genius Online is an online strategy game from Rebellion. Gamezebo’s quick start guide will provide you with some tips and hints to brave the skies and last as long as possible in this punishing arcade experience.

 

Evil Genius Online

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Facebook invests in virtual reality, buys Oculus VR for $2 billion (Facebook)

Earlier today, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the acquisition of Oculus VR, Inc. for $ 400 million in cash payouts and $ 1.6 billion in Facebook stock shares. The acquisition comes a little over a month after Facebook purchased cross-platform mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $ 16 billion. The deal is expected to be finalized in Q2 2014.

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” Zuckerberg said today in the press release. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

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Of course, Oculus VR, Inc. is excited for the opportunity. The $ 2 billion acquisition follows last December’s $ 75 million investment by venture capitalists and the successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 which raised $ 2,437,000. While the $ 75 million investment was a move towards producing consumer versions, currently, only Oculus Rift development kits are available for purchase, the most recent of which costs $ 350. Consumer versions are expected to be available by the end of the year, or early 2015.

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Hello Hero Review (iPhone, iPad, Android, Facebook)

Gamezebo Rating: 70

As modern games get tougher, greyer, and grittier, we can count on Korean-made role-playing games to get cuter. Hello Hero, a free-to-play social RPG by Fincon, might be the most adorable game to exist up to this point thanks to its myriad recruitable monsters. The ability to sway baddies onto your side makes Hello Hero a fun game to settle into for a while, though character growth can be excruciatingly slow if you’re not willing to pay for it.

Hello Hero

Hello Hero takes place in a monster-plagued world that’s troubled by demon worship. Heroes are needed to put things right. Preferably, a lot of heroes led by you.

Your party travels across several maps, each one marked with battlefields. When a battlefield is entered, your heroes stand on the lower left side of the screen, while the bad guys stand on the upper right side (as is proper custom). The heroes and monsters then exchange blows.

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Talking Points: Here’s What You Should Know About Oculus and Facebook (Facebook)

What happened? In a move that surprised just about everyone, promising startup Oculus VR was bought out by Facebook for $ 2 billion (well… $ 400 million + $ 1.6 billion in stock. You interpret that how you want).

Who the @#$ % are Oculus VR? If you’re not into gaming, that’s a pretty good question. If you are into gaming, shame on you. Birthed on the back of a successful 2012 Kickstarter campaign that raised $ 2.4 million (nearly 10x the project’s goal), Oculus VR are the company behind the Oculus Rift: a head-mounted virtual reality device that’s expected to seriously shake up the gaming world.

Virtual Reality? Is that still a thing? A fair question. In its earlier incarnation, virtual reality was kind of a bust; a fad that came nowhere close to living up to its potential (remember Lawnmower Man? VR in the 90′s should have been awesome). The folks at Oculus, however, realized that the combination of 90′s VR dreams and 21st century technology could create a pretty powerful future.

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Come on… Who’s going to believe that? John Carmack for one. The co-founder of id Software and lead programmer on DOOM left the company he helped found because he couldn’t convince their parent company to take a gamble on bringing Doom 4 and Wolfenstein: The New Order to the Oculus Rift. Two months prior to leaving id, Carmack became Oculus VR’s CTO. That’s now his full time gig. Guess he’d better get used to calling Zuckerberg “sir.”

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Hello Hero Walkthrough (iPhone, iPad, Android, Facebook)

Hello Hero is a social role-playing game from Fincon. In this game, you recruit heroes to help you fight back against hordes of demon-worshipping enemies.  Gamezebo’s walkthrough will provide you with some tips and hints that will help you get a good start on making pals with other heroes.

Hello Hero

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Is Wall Street wary that King is going to be a one-hit wonder? (Facebook)

This quote from ever colorful CNBC personality Jim Cramer after King Digital stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange earlier today should give you a hint:

“It’s a Stephen King horror story,” Cramer said. “It might be Misery, it could be even Cujo.”

While there are plenty more (and better) puns that could be made from comparing the King IPO to the works of the master of horror, it’s clearly not been a good first day for the company best known as the developer of Candy Crush Saga. After pricing its stock at $ 22.50 a share, King Digital has seen its stock price fall to as low as $ 19.08 in its first morning of public trading. As I write this, it’s currently at $ 20.06 a share, down 10.8 percent on the day.

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ZeptoLab tries to crush King’s CANDY trademark (Facebook)

Let’s face facts: nobody likes King’s attempts to trademark the word CANDY. When the story first broke back in January, it was a public relations nightmare for King. In an attempt to protect their Candy Crush Saga IP, they obtained the trademark for the word CANDY in the EU, and were trying to do the same in the US.

The games community – and indie developers, in particular – were quite vocal in their opposition to King’s tomfoolery. But few have managed to take any sort of meaningful action, and those who’ve tried have been shut down in the most unseemly of ways. Just ask Albert Ransom.

It took a body as big as the IGDA to seemingly pressure King to withdraw its trademark application on the word CANDY in the US.

But what about outside of the US? To really make an impact in the EU, it was going to require a company that could bring out the big guns. Somebody with a game that’s attained the same kind of household name recognition as King’s Candy Crush Saga has. Someone like ZeptoLab, creators of Cut the Rope.

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On March 20th, ZeptoLab filed a claim in London that, if successful, will see King’s EU trademark registration on the word CANDY cancelled. 

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