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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 July, 2006

Iwai's Futuresonic Keynote, Captured

July 22, 2006 1:02 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/elek.jpg We previously ran a note about Electroplankton creator Toshio Iwai appearing at the Manchester-based Futuresonic festival, and UK site PixelSumo has now posted some neat, but shakycam video of the event.

It's explained (unfortunately, there's not video of the entire event!): "Toshio began talking about his childhood and obvious early inspiration. First he showed books that were bought for him as a young child, one of insects and one about the science of light, sound and heat. At the age of 9 or 10, his mother said he would get no more toys. Instead she gave him materials (paper craft etc) and he started using his imagination to make his own toys and games."

Moving on from there: "He liked to combine old media with new technologies. His zoetropes were fantastic, the 3D model collaboration with a film maker made my jaw drop. A series of these were created, more detail soon. On to the musical applications, he discussed how for his moving films he could never compose music through lack of understanding traditional score. A mechanical toy music box allowed him to punch holes in the paper, feed it through to create a tune, making a very visual way of creating sound." Makes total sense, given what he creates now! [Via Edge-Online.]

Bubble Bobble In Bat Den Sex Shop Shock

July 22, 2006 9:05 AM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/bubbobob.jpg We haven't returned to the Life Meter Comics website for a while, and they've updated with a totally great new Bubble Bobble image from one of their roster of video game-lovin' artists.

As they note: "Looks like Bub (Bub is green, Bob is blue) is hitting the soap, again! This piece, titled "Drink Soap", is the second from artist Matthieu Beaulieu and is also the second Bubble Bobble drawing!" Dude, that's some hardcore soap abuse.

There's also another recent entry with a neat picture of Princess Peach from Ashleigh "Py" Firth, and of which it's commented: "It's about darn time Peach is doing the buttkicking and saving the day." Also fun.

Rhythm Tengoku Sambas Further Into Our Hearts

July 22, 2006 5:02 AM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/tengo.jpg We've previously covered the announcement of Game Boy Advance title Rhythm Tengoku, which is indeed created by the Wario Ware designers, and looks like an awesome 2D rhythm mini-game blast, yaaay.

Well, now GamesAreFun has spotted more Internet-available information on the title, explaining: "The official homepage for Rhythm Tengoku, a new rhythm title from the makers of WarioWare, has updated with a number of commercials for the title, as well as a gameplay video."

Also spotted is a video of "the staff learning about rhythm prior to the game's development", and commenter TheHawk speaks much truth when he notes: "t certainly looks like it has that WarioWare randomness. It's that randomness that always made me laugh as I played. I think I'd like to try this one." Here's hoping Nintendo brings it Westward, ho!

Softening Up For The Carebear Capers

July 22, 2006 1:15 AM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/carebear.jpg Recently refocused blog site eToychest (which is overseen by current Gamasutra news contributor Jason Dobson) has posted a neat Chris Chester-authored editorial called 'Strategic Thinking: The Carebear Capers'.

In the intro, Chester explains, in case you forgot: "A reference to the American Greetings Care Bears property, a group of lovable, huggable teddy bears living in the clouds that can shoot beams of happiness out of their stomachs... the term carebear has come to refer to players of a given game who are less pre-disposed to fighting and player-versus-player combat than their fellow gamers."

The crux of the argument seems to be that strategy games, and particular RTSes, need more ways to co-operate in multiplayer modes: "There are any number of games one can imagine where players can be put in a cooperative scenario against an AI opponent and forced to utilize that unique level of stimulating communication only really possible with multiple players at the table. Supporting and engaging one another, I think that, given the right approach, a game based upon these sorts of cooperative encounters would be well-received by the general public."

Also, there's an _absolutely hilarious_ anonymous comment appended to the post: "It seems to me that coop games can be the gateway drug for the huge untapped market of "girls who date gamer guys." You can call me a "carebear" all you want, but at the end of the day I get to play video games and get laid." What, both at once?

The Great Disney Genesis Conspiracy

July 21, 2006 10:02 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/dizbox.jpg Don't say we don't break the absolutely hottest next-gen news here at GameSetWatch, thanks to tipsters like Sander Van De Vegte, who has provided us with the following red-hot image of classic Sega Megadrive/Genesis box art, and the following explanation:

"While sitting at the dining table, I looked at some Sega Megadrive covers and saw a funny resemblance. It's probably not very newsworthy, but maybe you like to see it anyway." Well, apparently it's newsworthy enough to make front page news here!

Basically, De Vegte's hypothesis is that there was a global conspiracy to subvert the cause of justice and brainwash the world's kids with deliberate placement of Disney icons in SUSPICIOUS POSES and... oh, OK, he's just spotted that a bunch of the Genesis game covers had very similar hero, enemy, and sidekick layouts. But we like it, so we're bally well posting it.

Yodeling Down Twin Kingdom Valley

July 21, 2006 6:45 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/twinking.jpg Edge Online has been reprinting articles from the latest August 2006 issue of Edge Magazine once again, and the piece on the making of obscure BBC Micro text adventure Twin Kingdom Valley.

The game (which has a good Wikipedia entry) sounds pretty, well, spaced-out: "Twin Kingdom Valley gave you room to wander and wonder. Hall not only provided space to explore – and with 175 locations, increased to 190 for the C64 version, there was much to see – he actively encouraged you to roam and revisit. The inspirational moment when you drink from the magical waters and the ‘secret of concealed doors’ is revealed to you, the first time you stumble upon a gorilla, or when you naïvely put a lit lamp in your holdall and watch in horror as it’s engulfed in flame… the valley is full of surprises."

A commenter also points out that there's an official domain for the game, dedicated to "an extended version of this classic text & graphics adventure game for your mobile phone & pda" - everything old is new again!

GameSetCompetition: Win Street Fighter Alpha Anthology!

July 21, 2006 3:15 PM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/sfalpha.jpg Yay, so it's time for another GameSetCompetition of the highest order, and, thanks to the folks at Capcom, we're now giving away three copies of the PlayStation 2 version of excellent semi-retro compilation Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, which brings together the post-SF II evolution of the classic fighting game franchise.

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."

So, the question, for the purposes of this competition, is:

"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?"

Please send your answers to [email protected] any time before Friday, July 28th at 12 noon PST. There will be only one winner randomly picked from the correct answers, the judges' decision is final, and that's that. Have fun!

COLUMN: 'Bastards of 32-Bit' - Sin and Punishment

July 21, 2006 11:45 AM | Danny Cowan

sinandpunishment1.jpg['Bastards of 32-Bit' is a weekly column by Danny Cowan that focuses on overlooked, underrated, and inexplicable titles from the era of the PlayStation, Saturn, and Nintendo 64. This week's column covers Tsumi to Batsu: Chikyu no Keishousha (Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth) for the Nintendo 64, published by Nintendo and released in Japan in November 2000.]

Glass Soldier

It's really difficult to evaluate a Treasure-developed game based on its merits alone, without Treasure's fans getting in the way of things. The company has produced several titles of varying quality over the years, but Treasure loyalists will insist that every single one of them is gaming gold. They'll argue that Stretch Panic is worthy of being featured on a magazine cover, for instance, and some would even go so far as to say that Advance Guardian Heroes has redeeming qualities.

Conversely, Treasure detractors will tell you that all of the company's titles are overrated, and that none of them are worth playing. Yes, this includes Radiant Silvergun. It always includes Radiant Silvergun.

Both parties do an equally good job of making one question whether it's okay to enjoy Treasure's games. Does liking Sin and Punishment make me a mindless Treasure fanboy drone? Man, I sure hope it doesn't.

sinandpunishment2.jpgAnd now, a 5000-word tribute to Buster's Bad Dream.

The majority of Sin and Punishment plays like an updated version of Cabal or Nam-1975. Your character is able to shoot, jump, dash, and move left and right along a limited 2D plane while the game automatically guides you between destinations. Shooting comes in two flavors: lock-on bullets that are the key to defeating enemies who move around a lot, and a gun that requires manual aiming, but also fires more powerful shots.

Sin and Punishment sticks to the standard rail-based shooter formula most of the time, but some of the more interesting moments come when the game breaks away from what is to be expected from the genre. In its final moments, Sin and Punishment abandons its run-and-gun gameplay for a level that plays like a side-scrolling platformer, and the multiple bosses in every level offer their own surprises in terms of strategy requirements.

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Its gameplay may be fast and fun, but Sin and Punishment has not gone without its share of criticism. Much has been made of its lack of difficulty and short length, sometimes in reviews that complain about the game being easy when it's played on the easy difficulty setting. In reality, the title is actually a fair bit longer than the average shooter; most playthroughs will take about an hour or so. As with most shooters, the appeal in Sin and Punishment comes not in grinding through the game by dying repeatedly and abusing the generous checkpoint system, but in finessing through the waves of enemies and using as few continues as possible.

Sin and Punishment was at one time considered for release in the United States, but the waning popularity of the Nintendo 64 in 2000 ensured that the title never left Japan. Rumors have suggested that Sin and Punishment will be a part of the Nintendo Wii's download service, however, so the game could very well find new life with the next generation of consoles. Treasure fans, your frothing demand should increase with haste.

[Danny Cowan is a freelance writer hailing from Austin, Texas. He has contributed feature articles to Lost Levels Online and 1up.com, and his writing appears monthly in Hardcore Gamer Magazine.]

Sam 'N Max Make Date With CGW

July 21, 2006 8:31 AM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/samnmax2.jpg GSW co-editor Frankc is actually at Comic-Con right now on assignment for Gamasutra, and while helping him pick some questions to ask the folks at Telltale Games, who are working on the new Sam 'N Max game, I came across some extremely neat new art.

Specifically, CGW magazine's [EDIT: August!] issue has Sam 'N Max gracing the front (doesn't look like the article is online yet), and it's revealed that it's "...Telltale's first cover story and the first big coverage of Sam & Max: Season 1, so we're all pretty stoked. The nine page article includes snippets from interviews with Dave Bogan, Dave Grossman, Brendan, and Steve, insight into the game design process, and some never-before-seen art from the first Sam & Max episode. Not to mention a hand-painted Steve Purcell original on the cover!" Holy awesome!

There are also a whole bunch of user-made Sam 'N Max comics - and, though a number of the top-rated ones are astoundingly bad (I can vouch for this - I read them!), a bit further down the list, there are some particularly apposite gems in the vernacular of the bear and the bunny. Though the less said about 'Sam & Max & the Wii', the better, right?

[UPDATE: Thanks to Emily from Telltale Games for commenting and pointing out it's the August 2006 issue of CGW, not July (it's on sale next week), and also that Dave Grossman (the co-designer of the new Sam 'N Max) wrote the user-made comic I liked - so this perhaps bodes well for the game itself, no?]

Mega64 Version 2 Hits Online Shelves, Badoink

July 21, 2006 5:14 AM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/mega64v2.jpg I realize that sometimes, GameSetWatch may come across as a little, well, overwhelmingly positive about the crazy alt.gaming world in which we try to live. But, if you will, raise this post way, way above the previous positiveness, since the Mega64 Season 2 DVD is out now, and the San Diego-based former cable access game skit japesters have done it again.

There's actually a final Season 2 trailer up on YouTube which only hints at some of the fun to be had within - we saw a bunch of the sketches when we were helping pick the ones used in this year's Game Developer Choice Awards (and yes, that led to Sony Japan "asking to use the Ico skit for the upcoming Japanese re-release of Shadow of the Colossus!"), but from Burger Time ('Hell no!') to Luigi's Mansion, Donkey Konga and beyond, they're pretty much priceless.

Of course, we're waiting for our Season 2 DVD to ship, just like you should be, and it'll be interesting to see how the actual _story_ bits inbetween the public-interaction skits have improved from the first season - in this MTV interview, Dr. Poque explains the actual show premise: "It's about a video-game console called the Mega64 that makes video games come alive inside your brain, and each one of our videos is an experiment from it." But really, with a soundtrack that includes The Aquabats and Freezepop, you can't go wrong, we claim.

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