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Archive For January, 2006

Twinsen To Get Little Big Again For Raynal?

January 25, 2006 2:03 AM | Simon Carless

twinsen.jpg According to an email GSW got from Ahmad Ghourab, "the founder of TwinAdv, the largest Little Big Adventure news source on the web", there may actually be hope for Little Big Adventure 3, a second sequel to the cult adventure game series, actually making an appearance soon.

Ghourab comments: "In a recent e-mail I received from [LBA creator] Frederick Raynal, he makes mention of the fact he is now expanding his latest company, Ludoid... he has also announced that he is submitting several projects (ideas) to several publishers. Amongst these proposals is Little Big Adventure 3, subtitled "Genesis of the Stellar Entity", which is the sequel to the highly respected and successful series Little Big Adventure 1 & LBA 2 (AKA Relentless/Twinsen's Odyssey in the USA)."

TwinAdv has more information on the possible resurrection of the franchise, noting hopefully: "If publishers take interest in Little Big Adventure 3, then Frederick Raynal plans to commence work on it, while collaboration with former Adeline creative director Didier Chanfray, who along with David Chomard founded the studio Little Worlds." It'd certainly be nice to see such adorable original IP, but who's going to take that chance? Somebody, we hope dearly.

Life At Level 60, Spied And Deconstructed

January 24, 2006 9:03 PM | Simon Carless

wowdrag.jpg The folks over at GameSpy, who seem to be a little adrift since joining the IGN mothership, have made a powerful redemptive move with a gigantic guide to World Of Warcraft at Level 60, which is, quite frankly, fascinating for virtual voyeurs who don't even play the game, let alone high-level characters in Blizzard's insanely popular MMO.

The intro to Sal "Sluggo" Accardo's painstakingly compiled, well-illustrated piece points out: "For many players, reaching level 60 is actually the beginning of an all-new game within World of Warcraft. There's epic lewt to be won, bosses to be beaten, and raids to be, uh, raided. This content, however, can be an impenetrable maze of intersecting quests and raid instances. For someone who's just reached 60, simply figuring out where to start can be a daunting task."

Some of the fun stuff (and yes, this is a spoiler alert!), include pictures and info on some of the game's biggest bosses, including Lord Kazzak, who "occasionally appears in the Tainted Scar in the southwest Blasted Lands... [and] once defeated, he will not respawn for several days", as well as "the huge blue dragon Azuregos", who looks, well, huge and blue.

Fun Motion Gets Physical With Games

January 24, 2006 4:17 PM | Simon Carless

ragdoll.jpg FlashBang Studios' development director Matthew Wegner has kindly sent over news of his fascinating new game weblog, which is called Fun-Motion, and specifically deals with "physics based computer games".

Though it's only just launched, some of the highlights include a review and an interview regarding little-known, but apparently rather smart shareware 2D rag doll fighting game, Ragdoll Masters - in fact, Wegner comments of it: "While I appreciate the artistic care Mark Healy put into the production of [Rag Doll Kung Fu], I must admit that I had a lot more fun playing Ragdoll Masters."

In addition, there's a review of Ski Stunt Simulator, another obscure piece of goodness that "implements a realistic planar simulation of the physics involved in performing acrobatic ski stunts", and plenty more weblog updates are promised in the near future. Looking forward to it.

How The Amazing Race Gets Game

January 24, 2006 12:05 PM | Simon Carless

guido.jpg The niche text/graphical/strategy MMO firm Skotos Tech has been going for a few years now, and also publishes a range of articles on game development, many of which are pretty darn interesting.

The latest in Operations Director Shannon Appelcline's previously GSW-referenced series on 'Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities' discusses the game design behind reality TV show The Amazing Race in some fascinating detail. As the intro notes: "Unlike Survivor and Big Brother, The Amazing Race is not a voting game. Instead, it offers up the other gaming element that's very common in reality-based TV shows: straight-up competition."

In a particularly interesting section, Appelcline discusses the concept of teams 'yielding' other teams on the show, suggesting: "Sometimes no matter how strategic of elements that you offer in a game, players will instead make knee-jerk choices. I think this happens more in a real-time high-pressure game like The Amazing Race, but it can happen anywhere, and ultimately as designers you need to decide whether that's a good thing or not. Do you offer players the opportunity, accepting that they'll waste them?" Plenty of suckers out there, or so we heard.

Schticking It To The Plain Vanilla Shooter

January 24, 2006 6:02 AM | Simon Carless

tengoku.jpg Trust those japesters at 1UP to come up with 'Schtick 'Em Up: The Shooter Gets Weird', certainly one of the most eclectic features to appear from a mainstream game site in a while, since it deals with a "collection of outlandish, offbeat and sometimes just plain bizarre takes" on the shoot-em-up genre.

Naturally, some of the more obvious titles such as Parodius ("Hardcore Gradius fans may not like the idea of their favorite shooter getting the Mel Brooks treatment, but it's hard not to love Parodius once you look beyond the stinging satire") and the infamous Cho Aniki ("It really is raining men in the world of Cho Aniki, and the digitized downpour won't quit until you've either finished the game or run out of the room screaming.")

But there's some (even more) obscure goodness in there, particularly in the form of Game Tengoku for the Saturn, for which it's noted: "Some of Game Tengoku's other classic moments include battling a giant robot built entirely out of interconnected game systems (viva la 32X!) and an unexpected trip through the early days of gaming." Mm, game hardware conglomerations.

Magweasel, Ferreting Around In Classic Game Mags

January 24, 2006 12:09 AM | Simon Carless

gifmag.jpg We've previously mentioned Kevin Gifford's insane video game collecting habits here on GSW, so we're delighted to see that he's launched Magweasel.com, "a website that aims to chronicle the history of video game and (certain) computer magazines, as well as become a source of information for magazine collectors and nostalgists."

So far, as Kevin freely admits, there's largely just "a collection of unorganized cover scans and wiki pages" up now, with lots of awesome mag covers to randomly browse.

But some significant progress has been made already, including both the Game Buyer page, including detailed info on each issue, and a basic stab at the Video Games and Computer Entertainment page. Overall - sterling stuff, and we're looking forward to more well-informed updates soon.

Japanese, Korean Video Game Shows Showcased

January 23, 2006 6:03 PM | Simon Carless

kgame.jpg When the behemoth that is GameSpot does feature-like content, it tends to be pretty interesting, and so is the case with its news feature on South Korean and Japanese video game TV shows posted today.

The intro notes: "If you think you've seen the best of what TV can do in the area of game coverage, you need to take a trip to Korea. Two cable TV networks, known as Ongamenet and MBCgame, compete for viewers with their own 24-hour programming dedicated to PC and console gaming", before discussing some of the content - apparently, apart from the inevitable Starcraft popularity rush, "South Korean teen supermodel Kim Sae-Rom hosts Hello PS Market, where new Sony PS products are introduced to viewers in the program."

In addition, the piece discusses Japanese show GameCenter CX, which "...stars comedian Shinya Arino and has more of a retro-gaming focus. Arino sits down to play popular retro video games in a small room in front of a camera crew. Arino interviews famous video game designers in-between games and visits popular local game arcades." Sounds like fun - and, as the article says, we really would like to see these translated for the West - we presume TVK24 doesn't have English subtitles for its OnGameNet content?

Lula's Three Dimensional, Tragic Empire

January 23, 2006 12:57 PM | Simon Carless

lula.jpg Eurogamer's own Ellie Gibson provides one of the few mainstream reviews of German publisher CDV's decidedly seedy PC 'adventure' game Lula 3D. And, though the game is meant for "12 year old boys" worldwide, Gibson does a good job of explaining why it "looks and plays like it was developed by a 12 year old boy, on a 12 year old PC, at least 12 years ago."

For starters, a rundown of the franchise's awesome power is worth perusing: "Lula, for those who aren't familiar, first made her appearance back in 1998 in a game called Lula: The Sexy Empire. A sequel, brilliantly titled Wet Attack: The Empire Cums Back, was released a year later and a variety of spin-offs followed, including Lula Flipper (a pinball game that's nothing to do with dolphin sex, disappointingly)."

But overall, Gibson concludes: "The game's presentation is terrible, from the hideous music to the stupid cut-scenes to the way that Lula somehow manages to store every item she picks up - keys, beer bottles, porn mags, you name it - in her already rather full bra. The voice acting is worse than you'll have seen in most porn films, if you like that sort of thing, and the poorly translated dialogue just makes matters worse... Avoid like the clap." Will do!

Guinness Book Of Faux Video Game Records

January 23, 2006 6:12 AM | Simon Carless

bm2.jpg The Guinness World Records have a many and storied history as "an internationally recognized collection of world records, both human achievements and the extrema of the natural world."

But unfortunately, some of the video game-related 'records' on the book's website, lacking the bug eating or death defying of many of Guinness' most famous records, are a little on the, well, odd side. Some are pretty straightforward, such as the Game Boy reigning supreme as 'Most Popular Handheld Videogame System'. And, actually, Yu Suzuki's Shen Mue winning out as 'Most Expensive Computer Game Development' isn't completely insane, since it's quite possible nobody has admitted to a bigger budget than $20 million yet.

But... Black & White's creatures as 'Most Complex Character In A Computer Game'? That's a tad subjective, although apparently, 'The size of the creature's mind increases from 6–7 KB up to 500 KB.' So there. Most of all, how about Beatmania as 'Most Popular DJ-Simulation Video Game' with, uhm, 6,700 copies of the arcade game sold? Oh dear - possibly not completely wrong, just uber-random. Still, it would be fun the dig through the video game records in old editions - anyone want to volunteer? [Via Defective Yeti, who pointed out the Beatmania entry and got us searching.]

Robotfindskitten Makes It To PSP

January 23, 2006 12:14 AM | Simon Carless

rfk.jpg Thanks to a bit of poking from GameSetWatch staff, coder and Namako Team overlord Jiji has completed his PSP port of Robotfindskitten, the uber-surreal ASCII game which is handily described on the official RFK website as "Yet another portable zen simulation".

The game, which is available in an insane multitude of versions, including a Web browser Java applet version, is simply played as follows: "In this game, you are robot (#). Your job is to find kitten. This task is complicated by the existence of various things which are not kitten. Robot must touch items to determine if they are kitten or not. The game ends with robotfindskitten." It's absurd and delicious all at once. Especially if you like robots and kittens.

As a coda, there's really no reason not to be delighted that Leonard 'Crummy' Richardson, the alleged discoverer of Robotfindskitten all those many years ago, has also discovered Robotfindspanties, which are, yes, RFK-themed underwear for girls, as modeled by 'idealforbarbecue'. Remember, GSW readers, it's never an Internet fad without the tie-in undergarments.

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