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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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Archive For July, 2006

GameSetLinks: GB Dev, Kohler DS, Shady O'Grady!

July 31, 2006 10:40 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/defcon.jpg Here goes with the first linklog of the NEW REGIME, including such random things as Scottish game biz shenanigans, Kohler waxing lyrical on DS, and fun manuals for putative Introversion masterpieces - read on, dear GSW-er, and be informed:

- This is a bit quirky but cool - Scottishgames.biz has been set up, dealing exclusively with game-related biz issues from the fair region of Scotland. A recent post has student diary updates from the Scottish bits of the DARE To Be Digital game compo. Neat!

- FrankC points out, over on eBay UK, a Nintendo Game Boy dev kit, of which the seller claims: "I know little about this Item except that it originates from Sculptured Software (Who Later Became Probe Software, then Acclaim)". Actually, we think Sculptured was a separate U.S. entity, or something more confusing? Either way, this is a nice hunk of circuitboard.

- A press release from the ever-crazed Shrapnel Games reveals a new band contest (aka cheap soundtrack kthnx!) for the wonderfully named PC title Shady O'Grady's Rising Star, which is "a turn-based musical RPG/Sim for Windows that proves that you can still rock in America, all night, all right" - American Idol-icious! Here's more info on the game.

- Chris Kohler is subbing for Clive Thompson over at the Wired game column, and chats about cooking instruction DS titles, adding this interesting piece of commentary: "As the user base of the DS expands, both in terms of broadening demographics and sheer numbers, I have to wonder whether Japan's game industry will really need super hits for very much longer. That is to say, rather than a one-Mario-fits-all strategy, greater success might come from releasing a wide variety of games that appeal to different kinds of people." Horse... for courses!

- Finally, the nice folks at Introversion sent us a preview version of their next game Defcon today, and, apart from the booklet having the wonderful game promo URL of everybody-dies.com, the manual has some awesome Cold War style art, including the four Introversion-eers dressed up a top military brass, and some totally fun 'instructional' illustrations which are a bit reminiscent of the Portal promo video. Hooray to them for putting the fun back in manuals!

GameSetWatch: Less With The News, More With The Columns!

July 31, 2006 6:12 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/gsg.jpg So, time for some little changes on GameSetWatch. As some of you may have spotted, I (simonc) have been responsible for just about all of the non-column posts over the past 6 months, and a lot of fun it's been!

Due to my OCD-type nature, I managed to keep going with around 6-8 posts per day, even though I have plenty of other things (like running Game Developer magazine, Gamasutra, the Independent Games Festival and our new websites!) to worry about.

Well, no more - with the IGF ramping up and nothing letting up on the other fronts, I just don't have time to deal with full GSW posts for each new thing I find. However, what I'm going to do is simply revert to linklog stylee - so, in addition to the columns, you'll get a daily linklog wrap-up with text links to the cool stuff we run into online. This has the added bonus of accentuating the columns, which I think are the gems of our coverage anyhow - thanks to our great contributors! So... onward and upward!

[Talking of columns - we want more of them! If you're interested in writing a column about weekly or bi-weekly goings-on and/or your own leveling experiences in your favorite MMO (from World Of Warcraft to FFXI to City Of Heroes and beyond!), or talking about mods, machinima, dojin titles, video game soundtracks, the translation scene or anything else you're passionate about on a regular basis, then contact us and we'll set something up.]

Berkley's BUZZ: 'Wii to Receive Adult Oriented Software?'

July 31, 2006 4:50 PM |

adult_wii.jpg[GameSetWatch is extremely proud to debut this first exclusive article from veteran game journalist Joseph 'BUZZ' Berkley. 'BUZZ' really has the measure of today's youth, and his first story for us delves deep into the seamy underworld of the Big N/]

Will Nintendo's Wii be the first home console to feature an Adults Only rated game from a major publisher? And could that publisher be Nintendo itself? Will Mario finally get lucky? The Buzz has the exclusive scoop on this major development.

'Art' Exhibition? Smut Exhibition!

Sources close to The Buzz have revealed that Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto was recently spotted at a Modern Art exhibit which included several paintings, referred to as "classic nude studies", that focused on salacious adult oriented content. When asked why he was attending the exhibit, which included more than one portrait which literally included a woman with no clothes on, the seminal creator of the Mario series replied that he found the artwork "inspiring".

Does this mean that we can expect Super Mario Galaxy, or one of the other upcoming Wii games being worked on by Miyamoto to include Mature Themes? While there has been no official announcement from Nintendo of Japan, the Internet forums are already ablaze in controversy, since the information we have leads us inexorably to this particular conclusion.

Mario's Fall From Grace!

In general, consumers are stunned by the notion that Nintendo, long known for their adherence to a family friendly formula, would suddenly move to include nudity or sexuality, especially in one of their franchise games. Said one forum user, under the handle PwnN00bz15, "It's about time. Nintendo finally realizes that games aren't just for little kids. If the game had some guns it would finally be like Mario for grown-ups."

lsl.jpgWhat's more, another aggravated forum user, OMGpants23, ranted on this shocking development: "I can't believe that Nintendo would do this. I'm deleting all my N64 ROMs immediately, and will also return my GameCube games to GameStop at the earliest opportunity so I can trade in for those Naruto DVDs. Nintendo is irrelevent - and so are you! Pwned!"

Plumber... For Sale?

Sources speculating wildly on the basis of this original report have also intimated that Mario, who is long due a relaunch, is being retooled to be more like one of Miyamoto-san's allegedly favorite game characters - Leisure Suit Larry.

Long a fan of the lovable misadventures of the adult-rated lounge lizard, it's reputed that upcoming additions to the Mario series may include rakishly adjusted hats and salacious Liar's Dice competitions. If our sources are right, expect Mario to be looking for love in ALL the wrong places, come the launch of the Wii!

Of course, none of this is confirmed, but that shouldn't stop you from speculating. But remember, kids - Buzz knows best!

['Berkley's BUZZ' is a regular column from veteran game journo Joseph Berkley, whose illustrious career extends from the formation of Video Game BUZZ Monthly back in 1982 all the way to the founding of seminal teen game mag 'GameBUZZ - For Kids!' in 1992. More recently, he was a regular columnist for much-loved late '90s game mag Big Important Thing, and the author of self-help manual: 'BUZZ Says - Less Drugs, More Games!' His column appears regularly on GameSetWatch, and is rarely actually true.]

GameSetCompetition: SF Alpha Winners Announced!

July 31, 2006 12:59 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/sfalpha.jpg Unfortunately, I didn't manage to give out a reminder for the deadline on this GameSetCompetition, in which we were giving away three copies of the PlayStation 2 version of excellent semi-retro compilation Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, but a bunch of you remembered to enter anyhow, yay!

As the official Capcom blurb notes, the game is "...compilation of Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold and Street Fighter Alpha 3... [and] as an added bonus the "pint-sized" Super Gem Fighter MiniMix (released on consoles as Pocket Fighter) is also included." The question was:

"Which noted Street Fighter character was added to the Alpha roster in Street Fighter Alpha II Gold, and was also portrayed by Kylie Minogue in the 'seminal' Street Fighter movie?"

The answer? Cammy, of course! Thanks again to Capcom for providing the games, and for making Street Fighter in the first place, actually. The winners, who are currently 'Doing The Locomotion' with delight, are:

Nicholas Rotondo, Jim Squires, Matt Harper.

[Also, there are still three people who haven't claimed their Metal Gear Saga DVD from a previous GSW competition - if you're on the winners' list and haven't got yours yet, then send us an email, or we'll have to give them to somebody less deserving - ourselves.]

Contact Hits Etc For Massive Etc!

July 30, 2006 9:22 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/massdam.jpg Jetlagged on my return from China and trying to get back into the swing of things (look for a mini-announcement on GameSetWatch posting frequency soon!), but in the meantime, here's a gem courtesy of Jeremy 'Toastyfrog' Parish - an awesome localization tidbit from the upcoming Grasshopper Manufacture-developed Contact for Nintendo DS.

Yes, the game says: "Try to hit his weakpoint for massive damage", and it's all totally Genji 2 E3 demo, and this has all the makings of a tragically inbred joke that everyone who gets will _adore_. Of course, we're a fan of inbreeding (duhh!), so we like it a lot.

Also, teh Parish adds to the end of his post: "Given the general sense of "Wow I've never heard of this but suddenly I am interested!" that seems to be accompanying links to this image, may I recommend you learn all about the game with the world's greatest Contact preview?" And it is!

COLUMN: 'Free Play' - Metanet Software

July 30, 2006 1:29 PM |

[’Free Play’ is a regular weekly column by Ancil Anthropy about freely downloadable video games, and the people who make them. This week’s column profiles Metanet Software.]

"There are a lot of good games out, but at the same time there is an unsettling trend towards becoming more and more mainstream: to emulate the 'big leagues' of the video game industry. Looking at the music industry, it's depressing when the independent scene becomes a second mainstream." Metanet Software—who supplied the above quote in an interview with The Independent Gaming Source—are developers of freeware games.

Raigan Burns and Mare Sheppard, who comprise Metanet, see independent game development as an avenue for innovation and experimentation. Since they "don't owe anything to anyone," they're free to develop games that mainstream development houses might consider too risky or unprofitable.

The ninja is driven not only by a thirst for gold, but also by a physics simulation

metanet-n.png

"Sometimes you want to play a game that doesn't exist yet. So you make it, and all is well with the world again." Metanet's first release, N, most resembles single-screen action puzzle games like Lode Runner and Puchiwara No Bouken: there is gold to collect, enemies to elude, and an exit to find.

Where N differs is in the mobility of its protagonist. N stars a ninja, and where Lode Runner's stages are dense mazes in which getting from point A to point B is a puzzle, the acrobatics of N lay each stage wide open. The ninja is affected by momentum and inertia, and a measured running start and leap will allow the player to soar from one side of the screen to the other, jump up a wall and slide down the other side.

The obstacles in N are not the walls, which bend to the player's motive abilities, but the octogonal robots that patrol the corridors. There are drones which give chase, turrets that launch missiles, and mines positioned in just the right places for the ninja to brush against them. A brush is all it takes. Fortunately N mitigates the frustration of frequent deaths by animating every death. The explosion will blow the ninja to pieces, a limb might fly across a room, brush another mine, and be propelled back in the opposite direction. The most elaborate physics in the game, according to Raigan, are the ones that animate the ninja's death. Death in N is the game's second pleasure.

The stages that challenge the player are lovely to look at, combining smart two-tone visual design with devious level arrangement. In the course of revising and re-releasing the game, Metanet has created over a thousand stages. Thousands more have been created by players using Ned, the N level editor.

One day robots will reach out to the stars

metanet-robotology.png

Currently, Metanet is working on their next game—tentatively titled "Robotology"—developed in OpenGL and C++. Like Umihara Kawase, the protagonist will be able to fire and swing from a wire and use a variety of parkour-like gymnastics to navigate a Phillip K. Dick-inspired future world of robots (some comparable in size to the population of Fumito Ueda's latest release). As with N, a level editor and user-created stages will be an important part of the game.

Finally, be sure to check out...

Freeware Rebellion, a ten-minute documentary on Metanet filmed by Jim Munroe, in which Mare and Raigan talk about freeware, their favorite games, and desktop katamaris.

[Ancil Anthropy is a game developer and space invader. She fills dessgeega.com with lots of good stuff and writes for a bunch of places, including The Gamer’s Quarter and The Independent Gaming Source.]

GameTunnel Gets Round-Up, Uber-RSS

July 30, 2006 7:19 AM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/bcandy.jpg When I ran into GameTunnel and Reflexive's Russell Carroll at this year's E3, I mentioned that I couldn't find a good RSS feed to get all of the GT goodness at once. Well, ask and ye shall receive, and there's now a GameTunnel uber-RSS feed you can subscribe to to get all updates. Yay!

Thus, I also noticed that the July indie game round-up is up over at GT, and looks like the game of the month is the completely insane shooter Bullet Candy, which " is inspired by Williams classic Robotron, vertical shooters such as Treasure's Ikaruga and Capcom's Gigawing, and Jeff Minter's awesome Llamatron and Tempest 2000."

Carroll grins about the game: "This game is all about the undeniable oneness with your computer that can be had when the formula is done well and this game PULLED it off AMAZINGLY well. There are some cool graphics, especially in Minter mode, but the game is really all about the CONSTANT action that keeps you glued to the screen." Woo!

ChinaJoy: Sega's Chinese Play

July 30, 2006 1:11 AM | Simon Carless

More from the ChinaJoy game expo in Shanghai, and one of the more notable things about the show was a big booth from Sega, who haven't really been big in the Chinese market to date, but are apparently trying to make a play into it with a site called Segame.com - perhaps a casual portal?

Therefore, there were a bunch of casual PC versions of notable Sega titles available, including (not pictured!) Puyo Puyo and Chu Chu Rocket, but I managed to snap some pics of the following Sega-related fun:

Yes, there were plenty of Sega spokesmodels to the fore - calm down over there, Zorg.


Presumably somebody's fantasy is girls transfixed by Get Bass! ?


Also on Sega's booth, clearly the Bruce Lee penguin is the wave of the gaming future!

Wireless Xbox 360 Cheap, With Play Link!

July 29, 2006 6:26 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/plink.jpg Just before I left for China, I got a tip from a friend of mine (thanks Jon!) that there was a really inexpensive solution to Xbox 360 wireless connection issues. For those who don't know, the official Xbox 360 wireless adapter is as much as $100, which is a little bit ridiculous.

Well, it turns out that there's an odd third-party product called the Logitech Play Link, which was reviewed by IGN early last year, and "...is an RF Ethernet bridge which allows you to unite console to broadband connection without having to run any foot-tangling wires. The package contains two paired transceivers, two power adaptors, two short Ethernet cables and an installation pamphlet."

The connection works for up to 100 feet, and the Play Link originally cost $100 (!), but there's a large selection of them on eBay for $10 plus shipping now, making it a great way to connect your X360 to your router wirelessly. So, basically - no more leads to trip over, yay!

[As the IGN reviewer notes: "You can transmit data up to 1.5Mbps which, although slower than my wired network, is fine for gaming. I didn't detect any noticeable difference between playing on my wired network and playing through the wireless Play Link connection." Those have also been my experiences so far, though if you have a fast enough downstream or upstream, you might quibble with the Play Link's results.]

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 7/29/06

July 29, 2006 1:10 PM |

['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]

spiky.jpg

I don't cover it in these roundups because of its dirty Britishness, but Retro Gamer (available in a lot of Barnes & Noble stores) has to win some sort of award for Most Improved Game Magazine Ever. I bought the first few issues in 2004, but gave up on it pretty quickly -- not for its British-centric coverage (Jeff Minter was not a pioneer of anything, guys, come on), but because the design was awful and the text read like barely-rewritten stuff found on the web.

Wot a difference a couple years make! After going under and getting bought by a new publisher, Retro Gamer got rid of its pack-in CD and has done a total about-face -- it's now absolutely thrilling to read and the refreshingly innovative design outclasses more than one mainstream US game magazine. I would love to have a mag that's more concentrated on American and Japanese retro-gaming, but regardless, Retro Gamer still deserves a lot more attention from gamers everywhere, not just cheap-ass 8-bit junkies with massive ROM collections. If you haven't seen it, hunt for it.

Getting back to the main subject, click here for a full report on every game magazine that's hit US store shelves over the past two weeks.

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