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How Super Evil Megacorp became Apple’s favorite game makers

Vainglory helped show off the graphical capabilities of the iPhone 6 to the fullest.

Vainglory helped show off the graphical capabilities of the iPhone 6 to the fullest.

Of all the people to appear onstage at Tuesday’s Apple keynote, U.S. game developers Super Evil Megacorp were among the most memorable — thanks partly to co-founder Tommy Krul’s decision to wear a fetching infinity scarf.

What followed were Internet memes, parody Twitter accounts — and a whole lot of buzz for Vainglory, the team’s hyper-competitive multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that was called into action to help show off the graphical prowess of the iPhone 6.

As an example of the ever-thinning gap between console and iOS games, Vainglory knocked the demo out of the park, leaving fans salivating at the prospect of next-gen gaming on Apple’s new handset.

It also left people wondering about the origins of the fantastically named Super Evil Megacorp.

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Planet Hop is the most masochistic fun you’ve had since Flappy Bird

Pic courtesy Retro Dreamer

Simple, yet compellingly brutal. Picture courtesy Retro Dreamer

There’s something incredibly compelling about a mobile game with simple mechanics and a maddeningly frustrating success rate. If you’ve played Flappy Bird or one of the several clones out there, you know exactly what that means.

Gavin Bowman, an indie developer and co-founder of Retro Dreamer, wanted to make a game that he could reasonably finish within one weekend, as part of a “game jam” called Ludum Dare, the theme of which was “connected worlds.”

“I was trying to come up with something for the game jam that I could definitely finish,” Bowman tells Cult of Mac. “So I had to keep the art and mechanic fairly simple to have it be releasably finished versus game jam finished.”

The result is a one-tap wonder of a little game that has you tapping your iPhone (or iPad) screen to send a little sphere off one planet to another that’s spinning around it, like planets and moons tend to do. When you find just the right timing for your tap, the success feels glorious, but when you miss, well, let’s say the f-bomb comes into play quite a bit.

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Get your Apple keynote bingo cards!

Apple bingo card, courtesy Appency.com

Apple bingo card, courtesy Appency.com

We’re in a frenzy of anticipation about Apple’s September 9 event. Just like you, we’re expecting big and bigger iPhones, the iWatch and something to take the stage of that immense box Apple has constructed outside the Flint Center auditorium.

As we tweet, liveblog and take you hands-on with new products from what may be the most important Apple event in years, you can play along with this awesome set of free bingo cards, courtesy mobile PR firm Appency.

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With Mikey Boots, you’re one tap away from platforming fun

Screenshot courtesy BeaverTap Games.

Screenshot courtesy BeaverTap Games.

Mikey Boots is out now for your iPhone and iPad, and it’s a rarity: a full-price iOS game without any in-app purchases or any ads. It’s a model that’s served developers Mike Meade and Mike Gaughen well with their previous Mikey games, Mikey Hooks and Mikey Shorts, both of which were chosen as one of the best games of 2012 and 2013, respectively.

I’ve played some of Mikey Boots and it’s just as fun and just as infuriatingly addictive as the last two. My kids beat my times through each level repeatedly and they lord it over me, like the little talented jerks they are. Twitch skills, indeed.

While the previous two titles had your little character, Mikey, running, jumping and grappling his way through level after level filled with crazy traps, spiky obstacles and tricky enemies, this one has him (or his female companion) flying through each level with a pair of rocket boots. How can you not love rocket boots?

Here’s a video to show you how that all plays out.

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Moon Hunters asks, What kind of hero are you?

It's a mythical, magical ancient world. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

It’s a mythical, magical ancient world. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SEATTLE — Tanya Short, fresh off the successful release of sci-fi-themed indie game Shattered Planet, thinks her new game has widespread appeal. For a game set in ancient Mesopotamia, that’s saying a lot.

KitFox Games’ Moon Hunters, due out next summer for Mac, PC, and PlayStation, is a one to four player action role playing game that lets you create the kind of hero you want to be remembered as. The moon isn’t rising, and you and your group of friends set out to find out why.

“Essentially,” she told us at the Penny Arcade Expo this past weekend, “you’re in mythical ancient Mesopotamia in the Bronze Age. In pantheon of the gods, the central figure is the Moon. The moon not rising is a big deal.”

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Dark Horse Comics does video game titles like no other

Dave Marshall, Editor Dark Horse Comics. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Dave Marshall, Editor Dark Horse Comics, holding a coffee table book of video game art. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SEATTLE, Washington – Walk into a comic shop, and you’ll probably see titles from publisher Dark Horse Comics. Known for its creator-owned series like Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and Sergio Aragonés’ Groo the Wanderer as well as television and movie adaptations like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or 300, the comic book publisher has a booth at the Penny Arcade Expo this weekend in Seattle to show off a different genre of comic.

The booth at the Washington State Convention Center in is full of video game-themed books of all stripe, from Mass Effect and Tomb Raider single-issue comics to larger, coffee table volumes like Hyrule Historia, which is chock full of the lore of The Legend of Zelda, and The Art of Naughty Dog, an art book that focuses on the popular game developer’s artistic output.

Dave Marshall says that video game books are the third pillar in the Dark Horse publishing strategy, and have become just as valuable a content stream as the creator-owned or media-based titles.

“We get the original writers and artists from the video games themselves to actually write or consult on these books,” he told us at the Dark Horse booth Saturday morning, “so we can come to the fans at a deeper level than just a crummy tie-in or cash grab.”

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You can’t play this game alone – find a friend and conquer Together: Amna & Saif

Picture courtesy Mount Olympus Games

Picture courtesy Mount Olympus Games

SEATTLE, Washington – Together: Amna & Saif puts you and another player on the same screen, controlling a mother and son duo of characters to solve various environmental puzzles. It’s a “couch co-op adventure puzzle game” that requires you to talk, interact, and think with another human being.

Lead designer Lyle Cox told us that he’s always wanted to make a game that benefits society in some way. “My hope is that people who play the game,” he said, “get some benefit to their relationship for having done so.”

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Now you can record game clips within Xbox One SmartGlass app

Picture courtesy iTunes App Store

Picture courtesy Microsoft/iTunes App Store

The hot new thing is to record your epic gaming feats on your current-generation consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, sharing your amazing skills with the world via Google’s YouTube or Amazon’s Twitch TV.

Microsoft just made it even easier to do so with an update to Xbox One SmartGlass, an iOS, Windows Phone, and Android mobile app that connects directly to your Xbox One console.

The companion app already lets you navigate your console using your iPhone or other smart device’s keyboard and touchscreen as well as control your media via a SmartGlass remote control function. You can brows the web on your TV using your mobile device, and track achievements, get game help, message friends and watch game clips all on your iPad or other tablet.

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Nightmare Cooperative’s roguelike gameplay will keep you up all night

Screenshot: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Screenshot: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Roguelike games are a retro treat, hailing back to the earliest computers. They used various ASCII characters to denote dungeon walls and dangerous creatures in an attempt to recreate the experience of playing Dungeons & Dragons.

There are many good roguelikes out there these days on both Mac and iOS with varying amounts of verisimilitude regarding the original game. This type of game typically features a randomly-generated set of dungeon levels so that you never play the same level twice, the idea of perma-death, meaning that once your character dies, the game is over, and lots of treasure, loot, and monsters to contend with on a turn-by-turn basis.

Nightmare Cooperative, from Bad Hotel and Gentlemen! developer Lucky Frame, is a finely-polished rendition of the familiar formula with a few fun twists.

Check out the teaser video below to get a sense of how it looks and sounds.

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8 Nintendo games we’d pay a premium to see on iOS