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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 October, 2008

GameSetNetwork: Best Of The Week

October 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

Time to round up some of the best features and original pieces posted on big sister site Gamasutra and our other sites over the past week or so - and there appears to be plenty of neat stuff in here.

Some things I particularly liked - the feature analyzing 'Missing Gamers', as well as Matt Matthews' super-detailed NPD analysis and Jesse Divnich's database-trawling fun, plus our reports from the Unity conference in Denmark and the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO unveiling right here in the Bay Area.

Here we go:

Opinion: Hot Headlines And Hype Cycles -- Who's Responsible?

October 26, 2008 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

[When game journalists pluck out that juicy quote for an incendiary headline, it can have wide-ranging impact -- but unfortunately it's not a simple problem. In this opinion piece, Gamasutra news director Leigh Alexander addresses the dysfunctional relationship between game journalists, the industry and the audience they both serve.]

Video games have the potential to be a plodding, tech-focused industry, and while there is certainly a broad and nuanced consumer base for them (broader than most realize), those who read internet game journalism still represent a fairly niche portion of the audience. We're not accustomed to being buzzworthy or sexy, the way, say, celebrity gossip, fashion or the film biz is.

And yet, we'd like to be a little more buzzworthy, in general -- we've got the hot-looking (albeit digital) icons, we've got the big explosions, the talent, the high action and the tearjerkers. Why can't we have some sexy headlines, too?

It's a reasonable thought; I agree with the sentiment that the industry needs more celebrities, more champions, more people that can really stand at the forefront of things as beloved ambassadors -- as Cliff Bleszinski says in today's Gamasutra's current feature, "visionaries." We've got a few of those, of course, but generally those folks don't talk to the media much. They tend to be "Wizard of Oz" personas behind the scenes, don't they?

Failing actual celebrities, we often make "controversial" figures out of just about anything we can get our hands on, ready to seize on vague quotes to create an imagined feud, ready to populate and respawn relatively tame challenges or dissensions from industry people to craft them into maverick media stars.

GameSetLinkDump: The RPG Pedometer Of Amnesia

October 26, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Some more GameSetLinkDump, then, with a tremendous amount of goodness to get through, starting out with a pedometer that's also a role-playing game. I know there's My Weight Loss Coach for DS, but there it would be great if there was something quirkier and more grind-y in the West for RPG idiots, maybe?

Also in here somewhere - details on the making of odd '80s adventure title Amnesia, national gaming day at libraries, the Mother 3 handbook, and plenty more.

Is he dead, Mr. Spock?

Trends in Japan - CScout Japan Blog » Bandai RPG Pedometers animate your steps
'Bandai will soon be releasing two new hybrid pedometer games to keep you entertained while racking up the miles as you go about your life.' Wish they did English language pedometer games, besides Pokemon - or do they?

YouTube - Little Big Planet: Love and Marriage (Engagement Proposal)
'How I asked my GF to marry me in Little Big Planet. My (now) Fiancee was playing the level. She was so shocked she kept playing and knew i was filming. Afterwords we hugged, she cried, and I gave her an engagement ring.'

Back of the Cereal Box: The Legacy of W.A. Stokins
A good, handy Sheng Long round-up, guv'nor!

Mother 3 Handbook - The English gamers' guide to the world of MOTHER 3
Crazily beautiful fan service for a game that, what, won't get released in the States ever? Sigh. Via Brandonnn.

ASCII by Jason Scott: Amnesia, Forgotten and Remembered
Super-neat find - the original manuscript for '"Amnesia", the text adventure that was written by Thomas M. Disch and released by Electronic Arts in the mid-1980s.'

I Love Libraries - National Gaming Day @ your library
'On November 15, 2008, libraries across the country will participate in the largest, simultaneous national video game tournament ever held! Kids will be able to compete against players at other libraries and see their scores in real-time online while playing at their local library.'

The Making of…Deus Ex Machina | Edge Online
'I decided the time had come to go for it. Deus Ex Machina was either going to be my Orson Welles landmark or my Orson Cart disaster.'

The work of play - Los Angeles Times
Good mainstream piece on games, salaries, California.

Live from IndieCade Opening Weekend: Moments of Bliss | IndieCade
Glad to see the fest went well for them, hope it continues!

play online - 360, PS3 : Dave Talks Golden Axe
Parallel universe Halverson strikes again: 'Regarding many of the “reviews” on Sega’s Golden Axe: Beast Rider: Be wary. The majority of these people (can’t call them critics) either didn’t complete a fraction of the game, don’t understand game design, or just plain suck at games.'

Opinion: Two Years In - The Wii's Successes

October 25, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[In the first of a two-part series discussing the Wii, designer Brice Morrison first concentrates on the positives of Nintendo's breakthrough console to ask - in its two years since launch, what has the machine done for the biz, and what is its legacy to games?]

Almost two years since its launch, the Wii has certainly made a splash in the games industry. Though not a godsend, as I will discuss in a later article, the Wii is responsible for many uncanny feats.

It is incredibly fun, sure enough, but the pioneering console's reach goes far beyond the enjoyment of swinging the Wii remote. What else has it done? In what ways has the Wii affected game players, the games industry, and games as a medium?

You Don’t Press Buttons? Let Me Try...

Without a doubt, the most influential change of the Wii is its effect on the demographics of the video game market.

In the days of old, video games were made for “gamers”. These core gamers were quite homogeneous; most of them were boys and young men who played video games anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week.

They were familiar with the usual franchises: Halo, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, and they knew them in depth. They suffered from genre addiction, where players become incredibly skilled at a particular type of game by having their finger reflexes burned in, sequel after sequel.

Best Of Indie Games: Ready, Set, Jill Off

October 25, 2008 12:00 PM | Tim W.

[Every week, IndieGames.com: The Weblog editor Tim W. will be summing up some of the top free-to-download and commercial indie games from the last seven days, as well as any notable features on his sister 'state of indie' weblog.]

This week on 'Best Of Indie Games', we take a look at some of the top independent PC Flash/downloadable titles released over this last week.

The delights in this latest version include a new release update from the prolific dessgeega, an isometric shooter by Sigma Team (of Alien Shooter fame), a life simulation game, an innovative tower defense game, and a Breakout remake by nekogames.

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 10/25/08

October 25, 2008 8:00 AM |


Thank you all for your kind feedback in my last column. I guess I'll keep this sucker on rolling, then, and cancel my previous plan to start covering the illustrious history of ferret magazines instead. Sorry, Simon.

As I've discussed earlier, this isn't such a merry holiday for US print mags, most of which are peaking just a wee bit above 100 pages even though the number of games they're expected to cover continues to balloon. They're doing the best they can, though, and I'd like to take a look at the holiday editions I didn't get around to last week -- including Game Informer, which I continue to foster a love/hate relationship toward.

GameSetLinkDump: Virtual Boy Lovecraft Armageddon

October 25, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Steaming straight into the weekend with straight-ahead intent, this GameSetLinkDump extravaganze is headlined by InfiniteLives' Jenn messing with a Lovecraftian Virtual Boy game that I, also, had no freakin' idea existed - and this comes from someone who bought (but has not yet affixed) a 'Miskatonic University' license plate frame.

Also hanging out in here - the LA Times on game schools, a good iPhone game store piece from Kim, a video series touches on the tortuous-ish history of games and IP/patents, Joust 3D rears its pretty head (I heard it got canned partly because it had glider-quality uber-physics insanity controls, I believe), and plenty more.

Rainbow connection:

Majoring in video games - Los Angeles Times
Super well-researched piece on game degrees from Alex Pham.

Finalists - joystick - E4.com
'In alphabetical order, these are the top ten games submitted into the Grand Master Flash competition, as selected by our expert judging panel.' All playable and pretty interesting.

Ascii Dreams: Review: World of Goo
Yep, as Riccitiello fanfic. The weirdo.

Xbox Live Arcade Sales, 2 Weeks Ending 10/11/08 | VG Chartz.com - Video Game Charts - Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Wii, PS3, Xbox360, DS, PSP, PC
New update! Some interesting stats here (Braid still doing 5k a week?), and they are, at least potentially, much more reliable than VGChartz' WiiWare ones, as I've mentioned previously.

Mine!...Gaming and Copyright | ON Networks
History of patents and IP in games, from a pretty interesting web-only video game show I had no idea about - via Alex.

...on pampers, programming & pitching manure: iPhone Games Market: Promised Land or Cesspit?
'While at TGS, I had a lot of hallway & dinner conversations about iPhone games, with people weighing in on whether the iPhone Appstore was the promised land (a la XBLA circa 2005) or whether it was going to rapidly turn into something less than that.'

Infinite Lives » Games I’ve never played: Lovecraftian, stereoscopic FPSes
'The ill-fated Virtual Boy did, indeed, have exactly one 3D first-person shooter, and it took place in Innsmouth, and in it, you actually shot freaky fish people.'

brandonnn.com — RJDJ Takes Me Into The Rainbow Vein
Wow, amazing music-generating iPhone app.

gone is gone: Joust 3D
Is this the first video to surface of this online? (This and below via Brandonn too, just catching up!)

Media Molecule - we make games. » Blog Archive » LittleBigBang : The Evolution Of LittleBigPlanet
'Here is a video which gives some insight into how Little Big Planet ( and Media Molecule! ) evolved from next to nothing into what it is today! This was generated from our source control repository using a awesome tool called codeswarm.'

COLUMN: 'GDRI Wisdom': The Mysteries Of Sega Midwest

October 24, 2008 4:00 PM |

-['GDRI Wisdom' is a bi-weekly column presenting highlights from select interviews with overlooked game developers of years past, as seen on Game Developer Research Institute (GDRI).]

Jim Reichert is an inventor and rapid prototyper whose work has been featured in Disneyland's Innoventions Dream Home and the Microsoft Home of the Future. He also worked at Microsoft Game Studios, doing games such as MechWarrior 4, MechCommander, Crimson Skies, and Links 2001.

But early on in his career, Reichert worked as a programmer at Sega Midwest Studio (aka Sega Midwest Development Division), a little-known Sega studio that was located near Chicago. Only two games developed by the division were actually released - a conversion of the Neo Geo game World Heroes and NHL All-Star Hockey '95, both for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

Fortunately, GDRI got to catch up with Mr. Reichert. We asked him about World Heroes, Sega Midwest itself, and even an unreleased 32X game.

GDRI: Tell us about developing Genesis World Heroes. Was a lot of time and effort put into doing it? Why was an American division of Sega tasked with converting a Japanese fighting game?

JR: Well, as I was only the developer of the game, I can't really answer the question as to why an American development house was asked to do the port. As for myself, I'd never really heard of the game, and I was simply happy to enter into the game industry at the time -- I wasn't about to ask probing political questions.

It was funny; the original "wunderkind" who was supposed to do the port, a British guy named "Steve," turned out to be all talk. But before he "left," he managed to bilk Sega Midwest out of a fair amount of money (he got a car as part of his deal). Ultimately, I came in to restart the port from the ground up and had very little time to do it. Thankfully, another guy at Sega, whose name was John [Walsh?], helped out with certain parts.

Opinion: McCain's Pork Barrel Game Lacks Message

October 24, 2008 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Perhaps it's heartening that Republican presidential candidate John McCain used a video game to demonstrate his position against pork barrel spending -- but designer Brice Morrison explains just why McCain's Pork Invaders "fails miserably" -- and what the candidate should've done instead.]

The 2008 Presidential race is at the top of the news headlines, with all eyes on Obama and McCain, all ears to the issues. In this particular election, I've been pleased to see the willingness of both campaigns and the nation as a whole to embrace technology, from the YouTube debates to Obama's extensive website which debunks myths and rumors generated by bloggers.

Both candidates' teams have done exceptionally well in coping with new technology in an effort to woo a population that is more connected than ever before.

One of the efforts by McCain's team to reach voters was a game for voters to play called Pork Invaders. It is a classic Space Invaders-style arcade game, where the player moves around on the bottom of the screen while enemies float up above.

The player can fire bullets at the enemies and destroy them, earning points. In this particular version of the game, the enemies are pigs (representing porkbarrel bills that spend taxpayer's money needlessly), and the bullets that the player can fire are vetos (representing John McCain, in office, vetoing the bills).

Unfortunately for both the McCain campaign and game developers interested in social change, the game is nothing short of an embarrassment to games as a medium. It does nothing to expand on its blindingly clear initial message: McCain hates pork barrel politics, and he intends to fight against them when elected to office.

Okay, so we get it. Thanks for sinking a good chunk of change into developing this game, since the message "John McCain thinks porkbarreling is bad" is clearly beyond the scope of written text. The game was likely an attempt to reach younger voters, but that logic goes nowhere if the game does nothing to convey its message.

GameSetLinkDump: Cookie Parties And Procedural Glitches

October 24, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Heading blissfully forward with the GameSetLinkDump - and there's actually a surprising amount of good randomness this week - the attached picture is the fun, devious concept of an intentionally corrupted, gradually graphically destabilizing Super Mario Bros ROM. Can you complete it before it becomes unplayable?

Also in here - the PixelJam guys vs. Sarah Silverman, IFComp reviews times infinity, homebrew DS goodness, GAMBIT's Phorm, and plenty more besides.

Telling no tales:

Comedy Central: Games - The Sarah Silverman Program: Cookie Party 2 - Info
Totally cute promo game done by the indie kids at PixelJam - via Brandonnn.

sardius_: glitch, please
'The king of all corrupted Mario hacks is still Proceduralglitch3.nes, though. I don't remember who made it, but I got it off of an old thread at selectbutton.net. It turns Super Mario Bros. into a race against impending and inevitable doom, as levels will gradually become more and more corrupt over time.'

GAMBIT: Updates: Introducing Phorm!
'Phorm is the first game where players create their character using free-form modeling.'

IF Competition: General Reflections and Favorites « Emily Short’s Interactive Fiction
Wow, gigantic, scarily big round-up - here's everyone else reviewing.

Joystick Division: Video Game News, Views and Reviews - Post-GameCyte/TriplePoint Roundtable
Milking it much, guys?

Ludus Novus :: Necropolis
'Necropolis is a game about Ms. Lilian Trevithick, lady adventurer and radical steam technician, who has come to the infamous Necropolis of Ao in search of adventure. She descends through 25 procedurally-generated levels of traps and treasure to achieve her goal.'

Gaming by the people, for the people - Citizen Gamer- msnbc.com
'I checked out 29 of the community games in the beta and, of those, I’d say maybe seven were worth paying actual money for.'

Multiple:Option: UZA: The First Journey
'UZA: The First Journey is an arcade action game similar to Robotron/Geometry Wars.' Oo, please enter IGF Mobile with this, plz.

Achieve360Points.com - Live Score Tracker - Xbox 360 Achievements
As Danny points out - these achievements are bananas (B A N A N A...) - 35 points for pressing pause?

Play This Thing! | Game Reviews | Free Games | Independent Games | Game Culture
'Fraid is a quick parodic riff on Jonathan Blow's brilliant Braid. It features completely impenetrable "puzzles" that you essentially "solve" by doing random things until something happens, along with vaporous story text with the illusory feeling of literary depth but that ultimately means nothing.'

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