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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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Archive For December, 2005

Uga-Q For Me And You

December 31, 2005 10:12 PM | Simon Carless

rez.jpg Randomly found via Tokyopia, someone has apparently created UGA-Q.net, a tribute to Tetsuya Mizuguchi's former Sega division and current independent developer, and the joint creator of games including Rez, Space Channel 5, Lumines and Meteos.

The first section to get a proper update is the Rez info page, which is particularly notable because it includes three relatively tricky to find K-Project movies.

What was K-Project? As is explained: "K-project was the prototype name for Rez, called so because of the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, whose art made a bold graphical impression on Rez. Not that much is known about the differences between k-project and rez, apart from the obvious visual ones. Fortunately, we have 3 videos of it, one of which is incrediably rare and virtually unseen on the internet." There's a little more information on K-Project in a recent Gamasutra interview with sole Western employee on Rez, Jake Kazdal.

SomethingAwful Is Rotten In The State Of GameDenmark

December 31, 2005 3:12 PM | Simon Carless

merov.jpg Those reprobates at SomethingAwful are counting down 'The Five Worst Gaming Articles of 2005' (and, yes, idolizing OldManMurray in the process). Though their two top articles, to be revealed Monday, "were both written by the same person and neither one is actually from 2005", positions 5 through 3 are announced today, with an overly effusive PlanetGameCube Mario Tennis review, an arguably non-judgmental Black & White 2 preview via GameSpot, and Kieron Gillen's ecstatic write-up of Darwinia for Eurogamer being the lucky winners.

Article writer Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons certainly seems to hate Kieron's invective, suggesting: "Not even a Pitchfork Media review can cram in this baffling density of freshman-grade twaddle. You could write a gushing review of "Time Code" as a concrete poem shaped like a moebius strip and you would still be a galaxy away from Kieron's review of Darwinia." Oh, and The Escapist gets a good bashing later on, too: "The Escapist is what becomes of horrible gaming journalism when it makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously and considering itself too hip." Still, apparently "2005 marks yet another terrible year in the unending saga of mediocrity that is gaming journalism" from both a lowbrow _and_ highbrow angle, so... at least game writers are extending the breadth of their wrongdoing?

Crack Your Way Through Japan With GameLab

December 31, 2005 9:14 AM | Simon Carless

gamelab.jpg Lawrence/NFGMan from the ubergeek, ubercool, GamesX website has posted a Wiki entry on the Japanese Backup Technique/GameLab magazines, a series hitherto relatively unknown in the West, and which predates the vaguely similar MAKE Magazine by, say, a decade plus.

The Wiki entry explains: "Starting with the Famicom, this A5-sized magazine covered nearly every console and computer system available, and was filled with hard and soft hacking, cracking and duplication. It was a magazine that simply had no Western equivalent... Backup Technique later changed the name to GameLab, a less copyright-offensive title... [and shifted focus] from low-level hacking to GameShark codes, modchip information and flashcart reviews." Oh, and scroll down for NSFW cartoon covers to other 'DIY' titles,

Res Evil, Ninja Turtles Get Speedy

December 31, 2005 6:01 AM | Simon Carless

TMNT4.jpg For all those not keeping up with the Speed Demos Archive, dedicated to "videos of a player striving to complete a video game in as fast a time as they can manage", the latest speed runs include a multitude of fun movies.

In particular, a new Resident Evil 4 run by Tomi Salo blasts through the game in 1:51:03, and includes such possibly crazy talk as: "I believe that Leon runs faster with a grenade, special/normal rocket launcher or without a weapon."

Another neat one: a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time run, with Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe completing it with Donatello in 0:21:33. Unfortunately: "The one problem with Don (well shown in this run) is because he's slow, fast bosses can lay a hurting, especially when they come in pairs. Bebop and Rocksteady certainly don't make things easy." But nothing that pizza can't fix.

Clarkson Vs. Virtual/Real Laguna Seca

December 31, 2005 12:07 AM | Simon Carless

nsx.jpg Via uber-blog Joystiq, a link to a clip from the BBC's Top Gear' TV show [.WMV] featuring the ever-grunting Jeremy Clarkson, who compared driving a Honda NSX in Polyphony's Gran Turismo 4 to driving an NSX on the same course in real life, California's Laguna Seca.

Can Clarkson match the 1 minute 41 seconds he achieved on the PlayStation 2 game at the actual course? You'll need to watch the video from the popular UK TV show to find out, but a Joystiq commenter points to a similar article on Edmunds.com in which a Ford GT was put through its paces, both virtually on GT4 and at Laguna Seca. The Edmunds author sensibly points out "...the single biggest difference between reality and virtual reality — consequences. A mistake on Gran Turismo 4 costs me nothing more than a bad lap time. A mistake with a real exotic car on a real racetrack is…a bit more costly." Too right.

Drod Naught, Indie Will Win Through

December 30, 2005 6:12 PM | Simon Carless

drod.jpg Lovable indie gaming site Game Tunnel has posted its Top 10 independent PC games of the year, following a gigantic monthlong countdown which has included awards all the way from 'Arkanoid Game Of The Year' to 'Casual Game Of The Year'.

The Game Tunnel folks do a fabulous job of keeping on top of independent games - the '2005 Special Awards' article even has some quirkier plaudits, including the Player's Choice for Game Of The Year going to DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold, a 'thinking man's dungeon crawl' that also makes it into the ultimate countdown. We won't ruin the specific countdown itself for you, but suffice to say that the overall Top 10 includes a great number of indie gems (and at least a couple of IGF finalists, fortunately!)

Bonk Your Way To Retro Magazine Heaven

December 30, 2005 12:04 PM | Simon Carless

turboplay.jpg Though it was last updated earlier in 2005, may of you (including the GameSetWatch staff!) may not have spotted the unofficial TurboPlay Magazine Archives, scanning in and documenting "the only magazine dedicated exclusively to the ill-fated TurboGrafx-16 video game console [also known as the PC Engine in Japan], which debuted in major U.S. cities (i.e. NYC) in August of 1989."

As well as pictures of the entire 14-issue run of the magazine, there's an exhaustive history of its June 1990 to September 1992 existence, and even a further history of DuoWorld and TurboForce magazines, which are also partially available on the lovingly crafted site. And heck, any magazine with Bonk on the front cover is OK with us.

Pity The Pixelated Fool

December 30, 2005 5:42 AM | Simon Carless

a-team.jpg Wandering around Ebay is always fun, and a recent trawl brought up a spectacular collection of Game & Watch style handhelds up for sale from 'chickeneater'. Most of the items are a little pricey, mind you, including a mint-in-box Nintendo/Mego Game & Watch starting at $2,500.

But we're particular fans of the A-Team electronic game, which yes, is shaped like Mr. T. You too can "help B.A.Baracus and the rest of the A-Team stop the motorcycle gang and and rescue the loot!!'. It's pop culture geekery of the highest order, even if it's also kinda waxwork scary. [There are also some wonderfully designed '70s and '80s arcade flyers from the same seller, we spotted.]

The Secrets Of Archon, Revealed

December 30, 2005 12:12 AM | Simon Carless

archon.jpg Remember classic '80s EA-published video game Archon? Sure you do. Well, the guys at the Vintage Computing weblog certainly do, and they've posted an incredibly detailed analysis of the game, including exhaustive information on creature stats, hit points, and damage.

Post writer Medarch explains: "Billed as a combination action/strategy game upon its release in 1983, Archon ends up being far more action-oriented, but the diversity of characters from the fantasy realm and their combat attributes the game employs should be enough to dazzle any self-respecting game geek... I have exposed Archon’s mechanisms and hidden numbers through days of experimentation with the game’s original and best version, that for the Atari 800."

So, if you wanted to know hit points by square color for every piece in the game, now there's a special graph that handily maps it for you - score. Oh, and if you want to know what at least one of the creators is up to, sister site Gamasutra recently interviewed Archon co-creator Paul Reiche III, who went on to create Star Control 2 and now heads up Activision-acquired developer Toys For Bob.

Shmups Get Highly Developed

December 29, 2005 7:02 PM | Simon Carless

ast.jpg Everyone loves 2D-playfield shoot-em-ups, even if they are somewhat of an otaku-inhabited niche in today's mainstream video game market. There's already the excellent Shmups Forum for consumers of classic and modern shooters, and now, there's the newly opened, unrelated Shmup Dev game development site.

There are certainly some dedicated shmuppers here - moderator Matt McFarland introduces himself by recalling: "I... remember faking sick so I could play R-Type on the Sega Master System!" Good man! The Member Games forum already has a number of interesting amateur/indie shooters posted, including a music-cued Asteroids clone and the source-included 'ship gets bigger' Ego Shooter, inflating self-esteem and all. More niche development sites, please.

[Oh, and a random free Flash shmup recommendation, while we're here - Drakojan Skies: Mission 3, the latest in the series, is plenty fun/good for a JP shooter-aping Flash title.]

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