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About GameSetWatch

GameSetWatch.com is the alt.video game weblog and sister site of Gamasutra.com. It is dedicated to collecting curious links and media for offbeat and oft-ignored games from consoles old and new, as well as from the digital download, iOS, and indie spaces.

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Seven Years Of World Of Warcraft

November 27, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Seven years ago today, Blizzard Entertainment launched World of Warcraft, the company's most successful game to date and one of the most influential online games of all time.

The MMORPG, with 10.3 million current global subscribers, has seen tremendous success since its launch in late 2004, and still serves as the gold standard by which the industry judges the commercial success of an MMORPG.

Of course, the game has gone through quite a bit over the last few years. It has seen three major expansions, broken numerous sales and activity records, and has certainly been the focus of its fair share of controversies. Yet despite how the game or the industry may have changed since 2004, World of Warcraft remains a highly relevant force in the games business.

To celebrate the game's latest anniversary, Gamasutra's Tom Curtis took a look back at the history of World of Warcraft, recalling its most pertinent developments, its significant milestones, and the most memorable moments from throughout its development.

The story starts to take root even further than seven years ago, as it was in 1994 when Blizzard introduced us to the world of Warcraft with the real-time strategy game Warcraft: Orcs and Humans.

The company officially announced World of Warcraft in 2001 at the European Computer Trade Show in London. Shortly after that announcement, DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole, years before the game's launch, was quoted as saying, "I expect World of Warcraft to reach 300,000 to 400,000 users very quickly--three to six months would not be unreasonable. The question will probably be: Can it keep those subscribers?"

The analyst's comment exemplifies just how no one could have expected Blizzard's first MMORPG to become such a worldwide phenomenon. Here are the past seven years of World of Warcraft:

Rebooted Battletoads For Game Boy Advance Was Almost A Thing

November 27, 2011 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Battletoads ruined many promising young lives during the franchise's brief reign of terror in the early '90s. Scores of children suffered untold frustration at the hands of the nigh-impossible original NES game, and still more were scarred by sequels like Battlemaniacs and Battletoads & Double Dragon.

Thankfully, the toads were stopped, but in a moment of cartoonish villainy, Rare later sought to revive the series for the Game Boy Advance. As a recently released prototype ROM image demonstrates, the project didn't get far.

Former Rare developer "Jens" recalls working on the reboot alongside a proposed Xbox Battletoads game:

"I think we agreed on the team that the ultra-hard NES version would be difficult to sell nowadays, and many sections look very dated by now. We looked at all the other Battletoads games and I think we even had the arcade board running. We wanted to keep many of the features that people remembered positively of the games, while trying to focus the gameplay on some consistent mechanics to avoid frustration."

Jens continues: "Overall it was a big relief for me when it was cancelled. Developing on GameBoy while Rare was still owned by Nintendo was hard enough and I often felt like a second class citizen. Getting any resources to make a good GameBoy title would've been even harder as a 3rd party developer for a competing platform."

Japanese Zelda Pin Set Spans 25 Years In Iconic Cover Art

November 26, 2011 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Import retailer NCSX is selling a set of Japan-exclusive The Legend of Zelda pins that depict cover art from all sixteen entries in the series.

Every main-series Zelda game is represented in the set, from the original Famicom Disk System release to the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time. Even lower-profile titles like Four Swords Adventures and the Oracle games made the cut...though for some reason, manufacturer Tomy has neglected the CD-i Zelda games. For shame!

NCSX notes that the pins are only available via capsule toy machines in Japan, and argues that purchasing the complete set is much easier than attempting to complete the series at 200 yen a pop. The convenience comes at a price, however -- the full set of 16 pins will cost you $78.90, plus shipping.

Taco Fiction, Six Take Home Top IFComp 2011 Prizes

November 26, 2011 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Organizers for IFComp 2011, the annual competition devoted to short and original interactive fiction games, announced the community-submitted scores from this year's contest, with Ryan Veeder's Taco Fiction ranking the highest out of the nearly 40 entries.

According to GameSetWatch columnist and interactive fiction developer/maven Emily Short, who wrote up reviews for the IFComp 2011 submissions, Taco Fiction is "a comedy about crime and being in the wrong part of town", with a distinctive voice and an enjoyable flow:

"[It's] not a deep work, not a work with important social issues to reflect on, not a work of penetrating characterization; but a very well crafted, light-hearted, and entertaining bit of IF, somewhat reminiscent of Gourmet in the way it builds increasingly ludicrous problems out of its initial premise. "

At second place is Wade Clarke's Six, a text adventure about a children’s birthday party in Australia (in which you're one of a pair of twins playing hide and seek, and you have to find your six friends. Short says it's "beautifully implemented, with an over-the-top degree of polish".

Veeder and Clarke won $500 and $100, respectively, for their top scores. You can see how all of the IFComp 2011 games fared, and play them all for free here -- most of them are playable in your browser, but you may need to download an interpreter for a few of them.

Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk HD Remake Coming To Mobile Devices

November 26, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Codemasters announced today that it is set to launch a HD version of the classic 1991 release Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk next month for smartphone and tablet devices.

Due for release on December 9, the remake will be available to download for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

The original Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk was released by Codemaster in December 1991, for a variety of platforms. This new version is being developed by DNA Interactive, while Paul Ranson, the original game's project director, is heading development.

Said Ranson, "20 years on and Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk remains one of the most memorable games in the series for its puzzles and humour and it's an absolute pleasure to return to the director's role for this HD edition."

Dizzy co-creator Philip Oliver added, "It always astounds us what a loyal fan base Dizzy still has."

"Even after all these years people remember Dizzy fondly and it's great to see him return for his older fans and introduce him to a new generation of gamers."

Richard Garriott Documentary Appearing At Theaters Next January

November 26, 2011 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

We've been posting trailers from Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission, the documentary about the father of the Ultima series and his "lifelong quest to become the first son of an astronaut to go into space", since mid-2009, and finally after screenings at festivals and events, it's finally coming to theaters early next year.

Quick synopsis of Man on a Mission:

"While he may be better known as the developer of such games as the Ultima series, Ultima Online, and Tabula Rasa, Garriott always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. But when eye problems made a career at NASA impossible, he found a path through private space travel to make his dreams come true.

Man On A Mission captures every moment of Garriott’s training in Russia to his launch aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, as well as life aboard the International Space Station. It also offers views of the earth from space, and a never-before-seen view from inside the capsule during the fiery re-entry to Earth."

Shot by Beef & Pie Productions and directed by Mike Woolf, the feature-length film will open to a limited selection of theaters in New York City, Chicago, Austin, Cleveland, Seattle, and several cities in California starting January 2012. You can check out the planned venues and dates at Man on a Mission's official website.

[Via Game Politics]

Pirate NES Adaptation Of The Lion King Has Grim Consequences For Failure

November 25, 2011 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Most 8-bit games show characters falling off the screen or exploding upon death, but lose all of your lives in the unlicensed The Lion King 5 for the NES, and your favorite DIsney characters will kill themselves.

No, really. This compilation of The Lion King 5 Game Over sequences shows Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba responding to player failure by straight-up committing suicide. It's actually kind of disturbing! Timon and Pumbaa's deaths are at least cartoonish, but Simba's is pretty hardcore. Don't let your kids see this unless you want to give them nightmares for the rest of their lives.

[via @GDRI]

In-Depth: PlayStation Network Analysis, October 2011

November 25, 2011 6:00 PM | Ryan Langley

[Console digital editor Ryan Langley examines PlayStation Network's debuts and successes during October 2011, using leaderboard and chart data to analyze their sales and downloads.]

This October saw a ton of new prerogatives -- a new "PSN exclusives" selection, which attempts to promote games that are exclusive to the service, as well as PS2 Classics, a selection of classic titles from the pervious era of games.

But how have these new titles, alongside a myriad of other new releases, stacked up alongside Xbox Live Arcade, and how have they done against one of the busiest retail months of the year? We intend to find out. Thanks to the help from our friends over at PSNStores.com, we're able to give much more data than we could have done alone.

We've looked at the Leaderboards for the games we could follow (noting how they may fare against their Xbox Live Arcade cousins) and the officially released Top 20 games in North America. We've also determined how well the games have performed with reviewers using the Metacritic rating system.

He's On Fire!

In the first week of October, we got a complete glut of titles. For the standard PSN fare, we received Eufloria, Sega Bass Fishing, Space Channel 5 Part 2, Crysis, and NBA Jam: On Fire Edition. We could only follow Sega Bass Fishing unfortunately, which ended up being one of the worst reviewed titles for the month. It also only added 6,650 players for the month.

Indie Developer Daniel Remar Lets His Games Do The Talking

November 25, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili

You'd be forgiven for throwing back a blank stare at the news that indie developer Daniel Remar is due to release his next game in just a couple of week's time.

Well-known and well-loved by most hardcore indie gamers, his presence is definitely less felt outside of the 'indie circle', especially compared to some of the big hitters of recent years.

"I'm a shy guy, and my childhood has left me uneasy about large groups of people," explains Remar to Gamasutra's Mike Rose. "I think it reflects in how I'd rather just read people's comments without replying, or throw my games out there without wanting to enter competitions with them, since that might lead to public performances and more focus on me as a person rather than on my games."

The Swedish developer is not completely opposed to a bit of fame and glory however. "Of course I like to be recognized, everyone does, but I'm happiest with my games doing the talking."

With Remar's upcoming offering, Hyper Princess Pitch, it appears that he may well be receiving a little more attention than he usually craves. The trailer, released earlier this month, has gathered plenty of attention, and forums are buzzing with excitement for the December 1 release date.

"[My email intake has] increased after the release of the Hyper Princess Pitch trailer already, and it's stressful since I try to answer them all," he explains.

"I've never thought much about hyping my games, so I end up short in that department when it's time for release. I've depended on my friends to spread the word to indie gaming sites instead. The Internet is great for word-of-mouth information."

Top Android Game Apps: Great Little War Game Storms Top Ten

November 25, 2011 9:00 AM | Danny Cowan

111121_wargame.jpg[In this weekly column, Gamasutra rounds up the most popular paid and free gaming applications on the Android Market as of today, with Great Little War Game, Shadowgun and Turkey Blast Reloaded currently ranking among the platform's top downloads.]

This week's top paid titles are:

1. Cut the Rope ($0.99)
2. Great Little War Game ($2.99)
3. Shadowgun ($4.99)
4. Fruit Ninja ($1.26)
5. UNO ($0.99)
6. Doodle Jump ($0.99)
7. RoboDefense ($2.99)
8. Madden NFL 12 ($4.99)
9. The Moron Test ($0.99)
10. Homerun Battle 3D ($4.99)

Rubicon Development's recently released turn-based strategy title Great Little War Game challenges reigning sales champion Cut the Rope in today's chart results, and outsells Madfinger's third-person shooter Shadowgun at second place.

Halfbrick's Fruit Ninja and Gameloft's UNO continue to report strong sales at fourth and fifth place, while recent favorites like The Sims 3 and Duke Nukem 3D drop out of the top ten.

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