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For the first time, Disney is looking to launch a multimillion dollar franchise character via the small screen.  The strategy behind the “Where’s My Water,” a game that launched on September 22nd,  was to invest in a mobile game prior to green lighting a theatrical release based on the character Swampy, a subterranean sewer living gator. .  In a business where animated films can often take up to 5 years  and cost millions to produce, putting a  few hundred thousand dollars out there to gauge interest and build a fan base is a much less risky proposition.

Considering the app is one of the top ranking paid apps at 99 cents and displaced the record-setting “Angry Birds” game from the No. 1 spot for three weeks according to Bloomberg.  It appears the strategy is working.

The concept of the game is simple.  Swampy, an alligator who lives in the sewer is desperately in need of a bath.  Players slide their fingers across their iPhone (or iPad) screens digging through dirt to guide water into the gator’s tub while at the same time dodging toxic waste and collecting rubber duckies as prizes.

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The Gamification of health is upon us.  As is the trend in Zombie culture. Combine the two and what do you get?  A fitness inspired mobile app that adds story lines to your daily workouts.

Highly acclaimed, mobile game maker, Six-To-Start has created a game called Zombies Run for  iOS and Android phones.  When users plug in their headphones and go for a run,  they  hear a narrated story of a zombie-infested world. You, the jogger takes on the role of “runner” with the job  to go out and collect supplies like ammo, medicine and batteries for your ragtag base of human survivors. The more you run, the more you acquire.

Here I am in San Diego and to cover Comic-Con 2011.  It’s my first trip out here so I’m coming at this with an open mind and blank palette.  I’ve already had a chance to stop by the convention center (SDCC) to scope out the scene and see the early bird crowds.  So far a few hundred are already lined up for early registration in preparation for tonight’s preview. Overall  attendance over the next few days is expected to range from 130,000 – 200,000 this year.

So as to set the tone before things get crazy, here are a few of the key areas and attractions I’ll be paying particular attention to:

  • Games, Games, Games – this is the first time consumers will get their hands on E3 announcements
  • Marquee franchises from Marvel & DC and their soon to be released film properties
  • Cable TV announcements – lots of shows will have a big presence
  • Toy culture – this event promises lots of unboxing from Hasbro, Mattel and the likes
  • Anatomy of a fan – check ou the Flickr stream for some great photos of some of the most passionate fans out there

LG’s 3D handset, the Optimus 3D is heading to tech forward Korea and in partnership with Gameloft they’ve announced plans to pack the device with three 3D gaming titles including Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, N.O.V.A. — Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance and Let’s Golf! 2.

In addition, other available  gaming titles will include Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles, James Cameron’s Avatar, Ultimate Spider Man: Total Mayhem, GT Racing: Motor Academy, Shrek Kart, Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus, Real Football 2011, Star Battalion, N.O.V.A. 2 — Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance, Dungeon Hunter 2, Fishing Kings, BackStab, Eternal Legacy and Shadow Guardian will be offered at half price for the first 3 months.

At a show that typically caters to hard-core gamers, EA made a big move Monday announcing one of their marquee franchises, the Sims is going social on Facebook. “Sims Social” will launch in five languages this summer  with an upcoming mobile app to go along with it.  The Sims franchise is the best selling PC game of all time and Sims Social has already garnered  nearly 90K likes on its Facebook page where early participants  can unlock exclusive  virtual content like a BBQ or keyboard.

In their press release EA states that, Being on Facebook means that players can connect with their real friends inside the game to share their creations and adventures, and even misadventures, of their Sims.

Check out the trailer from E3 (via IGN.com) or visit the page to learn more.  www.facebook.com/TheSimsSocial

After day 1 of E3, I’m personally experiencing a feeling of sensory overload.  I thought it only fitting to highlight some sensory technology innovations.  Immerz is a company that utlizes what they’re calling “full sensory immersion gear” to permeate low frequency vibrations through your chest cavity to elicit responses from  your brain that in turn sends messages to the rest of your body making you feel as if  you’re right in the middle of the action  your.  Check out my interview with Shahriar Afshar, founder and president a well as one of their promo videos.