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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 February, 2006

Mind Control Software Thwarts Poker

February 28, 2006 6:12 PM | Simon Carless

thwartpoker.jpg The Indy Gamer weblog has posted a mini-review of new casual PC 'poker' title Thwart Poker, which "derives its name from the method in which cards are selected. All fifty-two cards are laid out at the bottom of the screen and no cards are ever dealt, only selected by the poker players."

Interestingly, Thwart Poker has been developed by Mind Control Software, the makers of IGF winner Oasis, and looks to be a cunning variant on the normal poker rigmarole, while also sporting some fetching graphics.

Actually, Mind Control seems to be working on some other neat products recently, including Dimenxian, a fascinating-looking educational title using GarageGames' Torque Engine, for which the slogan is, we kid you not, 'Learn math or die trying'. It's apparently "a relevant and engaging way for middle and high school students to learn algebra concepts." And also shoot stuff. Lots.

Life Of D. Duck Takes Graphic Adventure Surreal

February 28, 2006 12:09 PM | Simon Carless

bjorn.jpg Formerly hosted on the DIY Games website, Jozef Purdes' excellent Independent Adventuring monthly wraps now have their own weblog, and he's added an entry for January 2006's graphic and text adventures.

Of January's releases, Purdes has special praise for the practically 'folk art' Life Of D. Duck graphic adventure, explaining :"This is a superb medium-length adventure where you play a duck, which wants to make some oat porridge. The game is relatively straight-forward, but still requires some thinking, as some of the puzzles are more on the obscure side. What makes the title really good, however, is the very unique graphical style."

The game's author, LeChuck, further explains: "This adventure game is filled with broken english and awful, awful artwork that would make Walt Disney turn in his grave. You're probably wondering why, and the answer is to celebrate aspiring artist Bjørnar B. He made all the dialogue and artwork in this project." Oh, Bjørnar, we love it that we're confused about your existence.

Meet The Newest Face At Sega!

February 28, 2006 9:09 AM |

spinelle.jpgWe just got a press release over the wire that may excite your crazy Sega fanatics out there.

No, it's not about Shenmue 3, think bigger. No, they haven't officially apologized for Sonic Heroes. It's way more important. Ready?

Sega Amusements, USA has appointed a new Customer Service representative for the Parts Division.

Her name is Angela Spinelle, and she has a really nice pink sweater that seems to be made of cotton, or perhaps some cotton-like material. Her desk has manilla file folders, which I've found is a great way of saying "no, I can't do that, I have too much work piled up as it is" without ever opening your mouth. She also keeps strange alien devices on her desk, as seen in this enhanced photograph:

aliendevices.jpg

The device on the left is obviously a ZX Spectrum, for when she needs to play Eggy Adventure or Pick-Axe Minor Man Guy or Tiny Tim's Big Trouble or whatever people played on those. The middle object, we're speculating, is the decapitated head of the miniature customer service robot that Spinelle created and had to subsequently destroy to save humanity. And the object on the right is some sort of storage and display device for holding pencils, pens, and other long objects.

"Angela has a very positive attitude that will be recognized by all of our customers and staff alike," said Sega Amusements President Rick Rochetti. "It is important to have a person in this position who can manage relationships as well provide a good service to our distributors. Welcome aboard Angela."

Gizmondo Exec's Enzo Gets Wrecked Exotic Page

February 28, 2006 6:16 AM | Simon Carless

enzoboom.jpg A wily tipster has pointed GSW to a special webpage devoted to Gizmondo exec Stefan Eriksson's crashed Ferrari Enzo on the aptly named WreckedExotics.com, and if you enjoy obsessing over the firm, like us, then you'll appreciate some of the extra details in there.

Though our original post regarding the incident wrapped up the major threads, updates since then include "a call from the Bank of Scotland claiming that the bank was in the process of repossessing the car", a recent video clip of Mr. Eriksson in Beverly Hills with his other, black Enzo, and indication that "The car had a European registration and nothing had been done to make it street legal in California."

There's also a note that a "40cm length hose" from the crash was being auctioned on Ebay: "This was picked up after all the debris had been cleared out", but sadly, it's already been pulled. Still, you can buy plenty of Gizmondo hardware and accessories on eBay, even if the chunks of Ferrari are no longer available.

IGF Finalists Get Press, Press, Press

February 28, 2006 12:09 AM | Simon Carless

igf.jpg Since we also help out with the Independent Games Festival, and we just compiled all the recent interviews with the IGF Finalists, we thought it might be cool to crosspost them on GSW, with a couple of bonus links. So... let's do that!

Firstly, Gamasutra has been continuing
with its finalist interviews, including Dodge That Anvil's Jack Grandchamp, The Witch's Yarn's Keith Nemitz, Dofus' Thomas Bahon, and Putt Nutz' Suzanne Brooks, as well as IGF Student Showcase finalists such as Cloud's Cloud Team, Goliath's Level 11 Games, Ocular Ink's Pistachio Productions, and Ballistic's Ballistic Team.

Secondly, GameDev.net has also been doing a plethora of great Main Competition interviews, including with Ankama (Dofus), Flashbang Studios (Glow Worm), Insert Coin (Rumble Box), Oddlabs (Tribal Trouble), Rabidlab (Dodge That Anvil!), 21-6 Productions (TubeTwist), Atomic Elbow (CrazyBall), Grubby Games (Professor Fizzwizzle), Ominous Development (Strange Attractors), and Pocketwatch Games (Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa).

Finally, the folks at BioWare sat down and interviewed the Neverwinter Nights 2006 IGF Mod finalists, providing more interesting discussions regarding the nominated games. And for the GSW-exclusive extra links - there's a neat Canada.com interview with the Professor Fizzwizzle guys, plus previous IGF finalist Dustin Sacks has some great advice for this year's IGF finalists on his Random Dude weblog. So there.

GamerDad On Gaming With, Uhh, Dads

February 27, 2006 6:18 PM | Simon Carless

reynolds.jpg GamerDad's Andrew Bub has reprinted an extended article on gaming with families, as originally appearing in Computer Games Magazine's August '05 issue, and it's a great read.

As the article reveals: "Brian Reynolds, the CEO of PC game maker Big Huge Games, makes in depth strategy games like Rise of Nations for a living, but off the clock, he's an Undead Priest traveling the wilds of World of Warcraft with his sons. "Ro (9) usually wants to be a wizard of some sort (because of Harry Potter), so he's currently playing a level 40 Troll Mage. Tay (7) is a level 41 Tauren Warrior.""

The interviewed parents are also careful on hands-on parental supervision - for example, Reynolds "sets a one-hour per day limit for all games in his house. "I also control the boy's accounts. They don't know the passwords. So they need me to personally log them in each time they want to play.""

Thus, Bub concludes: "Maybe this year, instead of hitting the Grand Canyon or the local beach, your family should explore the far reaches Norrath, fight the Cogs in ToonTown Online, or delve deeply into the forests of Azeroth. Heck, the whole family could wear matching armor!" And you can go to the Grand Canyon as well, if you want!

Never Welcome To The Neverhood

February 27, 2006 12:02 PM | Simon Carless

gunhockeya.jpg Over at the Hardcore Gaming 101 site, they've added a very neat synopsis of all The Neverhood-related titles, showcasing the great claymation titles from Doug TenNapel and friends.

Not only is there a bunch of good information on The Neverhood, originally produced in association with Steven Spielberg at Dreamworks Interactive (the Internet Archive has a electronic press kit movie for the game featuring Spielberg talking about it), but the rather rare Klaymen Gun Hockey is also covered in some detail.

As the authors explain: "It's pretty strange for an American-designed game to get a spinoff specifically for the Japanese market. And yet here we are with [PlayStation 2 title] Klaymen Gun Hockey, developed by a company called KIDSMIND and published by Riverhill Soft, who also published the other Klaymen games in Japan. It's pretty much just air hockey, except you shoot the puck with guns. " Gun puck madness, we tell you!

Bootleg U2 Rock Out In Second Life

February 27, 2006 6:12 AM | Simon Carless

r360.jpg Ilya Vedrashko's Brands In Games weblog has put up a new post documenting today's concert by the 'U2 In Second Life' band, held in Linden Lab's Second Life online virtual world.

Vedrashko explains: "The concept in brief: players [here's the official U2 in SL website] stream a soundtrack into the world and create character animations for the performance itself. The major problem was the number of avatars the server could accept without the latency becoming too noticeable. Otherwise, a truly fantastic performance with every detail thoroughly worked out."

The band's website also notes of the unofficial tribute to the band: "We do this for fun but, most importantly, to raise awareness of the various causes supported by the real world band—causes such as ONE.ORG, DATA.ORG, and MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY.ORG." Good stuff - Second Life continues to host plenty of intriguing events.

StarROMs Takes Last Train Out Of Town

February 27, 2006 12:09 AM | Simon Carless

starroms.gif Over at RetroBlast!, they've spotted that legal ROM site StarROMs is closing its doors, after a couple of years of selling Atari-licensed MAME-compatible game ROMs like Asteroids, Tempest, Quantum, and many others.

The farewell message on the StarROMs site simply reads: "Since October 2003, StarROMs has provided a legal source of game ROMs for classic arcade enthusiasts. Unfortunately, we will no longer be licensing or distributing game roms. Without further notice, this site will go away in the near future."

StarROMs was trying to do an admirable thing - an interview with the site's Frank Leibly in 2004 explains more on their philosophy - but in the end, it seems like lack of diversity and ease of PC ROM-copying may have done them in. If so, that's a shame.

Zelda's Second Quest Gets Super Speed Run

February 26, 2006 6:04 PM | Simon Carless

zelda2.jpg The gigantic Speed Demos Archive continues to add a number of quality speed runs, all done on official hardware and with fairly stringent rules, and the latest is a second quest run on The Legend Of Zelda for the NES.

As the Wikipedia page for Zelda explains: "The player could play the "second quest" either by completing the first quest of the game, or by entering "ZELDA" as the character's name... The basic overworld map is slightly changed, but the locations and layout of the dungeons are completely different, and most of the items and secrets are in different places than before."

Well, Robert 'Trebor' Nobles has completed this version in 44 minutes and 33 seconds, and without using the 'Up & A' in-game warping which returns the player to the start, as the news page explains. Robert's notes on the game also explain : "I was so relieved when I saw the time was sub-45 [minutes]; that was my original goal. Of course, like any good runner, I'm not completely satisfied, so look for me to improve this run sometime. I still work on it on a daily basis, but I wanted this to get put up so I wouldn't feel like I've accomplished nothing." Nice - this is some hardcore playing.

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