The upcoming casual PC game, Family Guy Online has got a new app to go along with Roadhouse Interactive's upcoming open world title, allowing you to convert a photo of yourself into a Family Guy-style character that can later be dropped into the game.

You can find the trailer and more info about the game after the jump.

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My girlfriend is the definition of a casual gamer. She loves the "LEGO" series, carries a Nintendo DS everywhere and balks at the idea of touching an Xbox 360 controller. But she also thinks many Wii games are too simple.

She has never shown an interest in the more complicated games I enjoy. Then, "Left 4 Dead" showed up. She loves horror movies. The idea of starring in a personalized "Night of the Living Dead" adventure was too much to pass up.

There was a minor setback, though: she has never played a shooter before.

Yes, people like that still exist. And it was fascinating to watch her come to grips with it. When she asked "how do I aim?" and I pointed out the second stick, she gasped. "I can look around? I thought I could only look forward!"

She just blew my mind.


I am the mother of a baby boy.

A virtual baby boy, that is. I recently got a chance to play a build of SouthPeak's "My Baby" for the DS. In "My Baby Boy" or "My Baby Girl," players can take care of a baby by feeding it, playing with it, bathing it and... changing its diapers.

Patrick Klepek may have been too terrified to touch virtual poop, but not me. Just watch my get my hands stylus dirty... Read More...

Earlier this year, I complained about the lack of skin color choices for the Wii title "Carnival Games."

I was bothered that a casual, family-oriented game didn't include any skin tones other than pale, Caucasian ones for its character customization.

2K Play marketing director Christina Recchio admitted the exclusion of a skin color palette was a problem. "We knew it should've been in the first one," she said. "Unfortunately by the time it had gone to manufacturing, it was something that couldn't be changed in the original product. But when we were developing for the DS, it was the first thing that we put in there because we knew we needed a larger variety."

But how could such a thing happen in the first place? Read More...

Are you surprised at how well mini-game collection "Carnival Games" has sold? So were the folks at publisher 2K Games.

"It definitely exceeded our expectations," 2K Play marketing director Christina Recchio said when I asked her about the success of the carnival-themed Wii game. "2K Play did not forecast a million units since it was an original property and a fairly new system."

During a demo for the franchise's new installment "Carnival Games: Mini-Golf" yesterday, she told me that, despite negative reviews, the original title has sold over 1.5 million units since it was released a year ago -- and it's still selling.

Recchio added that I didn't get my requested press copy of the July-released DS version yet because it's also "over-performing." "It's nice to know that the retailers are asking for more and more products, so we're very excited about this franchise," she said.

As for why exactly the "Carnival Games" franchise has done so well... Read More...

"Boom Blox a bust at retail" read a headline at Joystiq yesterday. "BOOM BLOX only sells 60K units in first month, ouch!" shouted thatvideogameblog.

Based on the latest numbers from the NPD Group, much of the Internet has declared "Boom Blox"'s first-month sales a disappointment.

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitello, however, told an audience at the William Blair Investor Conference today that sales were on target. "It has met our expectations internally," he said. "It's continued to sell well. It did break into the top 10 for the Wii, and the advertising is doing exactly what [our] team expected to: drive sales."

Analysts, however, haven't been as upbeat.


You can skip boring parts of movies. Why can't you skip boring parts of games?

Eden Games, the developers of "Alone in the Dark," think you should be able to skip ahead.

You won't be able to see the game's "true ending" unless you complete a certain amount of the game, but you can skip large parts of the storyline (and gameplay) all you want.


Electronic Arts has consistently proven to be a surprising innovator on Wii. "Madden NFL 08" stumbled a bit, but the developers' Family Play initiative, designed to revamp "Madden" for a more casual crowd, was a step in a promising new direction.

A few weeks ago, EA announced an all-new sub-brand for EA Sports, entitled Freestyle, alongside an evolution of their Family Play interface philosophies designed for Wii: All-Play.

"The Freestyle brand is aimed at those gamers who are looking to enjoy the 'lighter side of sports,' regardless of what platform they play on," said EA Sports senior director of brand marketing Reg Hamlett in an e-mail interview with MTV Multiplayer. "The brand houses games hinged on the suspension of the traditional rules of sports."

Arcade-styled boxing game "Facebreaker" arrives under the Freestyle moniker this fall. And while Freestlye isn't just for Wii, it certainly seems most apt for Wii, especially since both initiatives were announced the same day.

But what makes All-Play so different?


casual_mario.jpgRockstar's Dan Houser said f--- it.

Nintendo said it doesn't exist.

And whatever it is, EA said that "The Sims" isn't it.

So what is "casual gaming"?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of "casual" is something "occurring without regularity," "occasional," "employed for irregular periods, "met with on occasion and known only superficially" and "lacking a high degree of interest or devotion" or "done without serious intent or commitment."

However, in gaming, the term "casual" is used to refer to a genre of games. But what really defines a "casual game"? Is it the core audience that plays it? Is it the kind of gameplay a title offers? Or a game's wide-spread appeal?

When Nancy Smith, Global President of "The Sims" at EA, was asked about the label "casual," she said, "I don't think of ["The Sims"] as casual. We were one of the first games that started to attract a broad audience. We were one of the first games that bought in women."

Meanwhile, Nintendo Europe's senior marketing director Laurent Fischer told CVG he thinks the idea of the casual gamer is a myth entirely: "For me, you are a gamer or non-gamer... I think most of you know that you can spend ten or twenty hours on an internet flash game and have not realised. The guy who plays these games regularly - he's a core gamer."

As for the word "casual," he said, "I don't like this word casual so much. Because people consider that casual needs to be something easy. If you're good at any game you can play at a high difficulty level. There is no casual gaming. There is just a different way to play."

Clearly, casual games are booming. Why are publishers suddenly uncomfortable with the "c" word? What do you think defines a "casual gamer" or a "casual game"? Should the term "casual" be embraced or tossed out?

Nolan BushnellNolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and co-creator of "Pong," thinks games have lost their way, and violent games and long, complicated gameplay is to blame.

But he finds hope in the rise of Wii and casual games, he told Multiplayer in a phone interview yesterday morning.

I proposed that games started as a hardcore medium, but he disagreed. "The way that games started, they were virtually all casual. If you really think about 'Breakout,' 'Tank' and some of those things, games were very, very simple," he said.

He can even pinpoint when things went astray.

"I like to talk about [how] 1983 was sort of the break point where games went from casual to hardcore," said Bushnell. "They got violent. They went long form. The violence lost the women and the long form lost the casual gamer. I actually sort of stuck to my roots, and the console game market moved away."

He doesn't believe the current gaming experiences are going to disappear. "Grand Theft Auto" is here to stay, even if he doesn't approve of it. But new gamers are up for grabs, and they might like the kind of games Bushnell championed 25 years ago.

"I actually think the future of gaming is going to be much more emphasis on games that are casual," he said. "The Wii was as much about a return to fun games -- what I call universally accessible games -- as much as it was about the controller. There's clearly been a demand for games for everybody else, and that's why I think this is getting so much attention."

What do you think of his argument, readers? Are "Grand Theft Auto" and "Final Fantasy" responsible for turning off a whole market of would-be gamers?

Have a hot tip? Is there a topic that Multiplayer should be covering and isn't? Maybe you know the future of gaming. Drop me an e-mail.

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