Zynga today announced the sequel to their smash-hit social game, FarmVille. Cleverly dubbed FarmVille 2, the newest title from Zynga will introduce players to a slew of new features and, for the first time, they can experience their virtual farm with 3D visuals! The best part? FarmVille 2 is available to play right now! Read More...

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Social and online game developer Playdom (Mobsters, Gardens of Time) have been busy plugging away at their big social Avengers game in advance of the Marvel superhero team's big screen debut this summer. With that in mind, I had a chance to play Marvel: Avenger's Alliance, a turn-based RPG with the usual social hooks for a Facebook game (gifts, etc.). While the gameplay isn't a huge leap forward in social gaming, for fans of the Marvel Universe, it looks like it might be a fun, free way of having them duke it out with some of the publisher's major and minor characters.
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Upcoming social game represents the publisher's first big foray in that space since being acquired by Disney.
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The lead designer of "EVE Online" talked to me about how his game holds up against other upcoming space MMOs. He also shared plans to connect "EVE" players on handheld devices and a Facebook-like social networking site. Read More...

For those of you who've played "Fable II," you know the game is about the choices you make. For the most part, you're in control of how you want your player to end up -- good or evil.

But there is one aspect beyond players' control... what happens when you unintentionally push the B button near loved ones.

Let me explain: In "Fable II," players can assign different magic abilities to the B button. Many players, myself included, went with a power called "Inferno," a spell that allows the player-character to shoot fire from his/her hands.

When in the towns, you can interact with people and perform expressions to amuse them, even drawing large crowds to you. But in doing so, it's also easy to accidentally hit the B button when navigating the menus. And whatever spell you've assigned to that B button -- well, you can guess what happens.

If you've had this problem too, you're not alone. There's a Facebook support group called the "Association of Accidental Arsonists." The description reads, "A support group for Fable II players who've set spouses, houses and mouses ablaze in err." Yesterday I found out who started this group. Read More...

One of the big draws of the now-banned "Scrabulous" on Facebook was the ability to play "Scrabble" matches against a worldwide player base.

You can't do that in Electronic Arts' and Hasbro's official "Scrabble" on Facebook.

There's a version for US and Canadian residents and a different one for international players. Your region determines which version you can participate in. There is no worldwide play.

That's not changing. EA told me it's a rights issue. "The rights on 'Scrabble' are split between Hasbro and Mattel," said a company representative. "There is no licensed worldwide game. We have the rights through Hasbro so our game is for US and Canada players only -- whether it's iPhone or Facebook or any platform."

"Word Scraper," a new "Scrabble"-influenced application -- with tweaked rules -- from the folks behind "Scrabulous," does not appear to have such limitations.

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Well, that didn't take long.

The creators of "Scrabulous" for Facebook, a popular user-created take on "Scrabble" that was recently disabled under legal threat from from Electronic Arts and Hasbro, have returned with "Wordscraper."

"Wordscraper" is just like "Scrabulous" -- but different. The interface has been tweaked, the graphics modified, new rules added. In other words, the hope is that it's just different enough for the lawyers to go barking elsewhere.

Will people make the crossover? So far, none of my friends, who were very vocal when "Scrabulous" pulled a disappearing act, have commented on "Wordscraper."

"I was so close to winning a Scrabble game. WHY EA? WHY?" shouted a friend of mine on Facebook.

In the last few days, my Facebook status updates have been flooded with users discovering that the "Scrabulous" application has finally been put to rest.

"Scrabulous" was a user-made version of the popular board game "Scrabble" that came under legal fire once Hasbro and Electronic Arts, working on their own version of Facebook "Scrabble," discovered its popularity.

I'm not sure how many users have decided to make the switch to the official version or whether they'll just drop Facebook "Scrabble" altogether, but recent status updates coming through my Facebook page aren't encouraging.

"I'm amazed at how much the scrabble interface sucks compared to Scrabulous," said another friend.

The current version of EA's "Scrabble" is available in beta and limited to players in the United States and Canada. Scrabulous allowed for worldwide play.

Are you a Facebook "Scrabble" player? Will you add the new, official application?

Since the last entry I've hit three roadblocks in three games:

I hit a bug in the preview build of the otherwise enjoyable DS character-action/tower-defense game "Lock's Quest." So that's going on the shelf.

I re-tried DS rhythm game "Ouendan 2," which I hadn't played in months, and was reminded that I can't get the beat of either of the two songs I'm stuck on -- even though I reached cheer girls status in the first "Ouendan" and "Elite Beat Agents."

I was playing EA's "Scrabble" beta on Facebook and am currently stuck with the following tiles: AIIARIR. Yay for me! I can spell the world "AIR"! And then I can spell it again! I'm going to lose...

Next: Maybe I'll download that Square-Enix iPod game. Anyone know if it's any good?

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