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Archive For May, 2009

Hominid Makes Super Meat Boy Appearance

May 27, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

In a new round of artwork released for the platformer, Team Meat revealed that The Behemoth's antennaed, yellow creature from Alien Hominid (pictured) will make a cameo in Super Meat Boy, likely as an unlockable character for the WiiWare/PC remake's new versus mode.

The game is slated to include a wide variety of characters donated by at least twelve independent developers.

This marks third guest appearance revealed for Super Meat Boy, the previous two being Tim from Number None's XBLA/PC/Mac time-manipulating platformer Braid, and Commander Video from Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip series on WiiWare.

Gamers will also get to play levels that look like they were taken from the characters' games, according to a TWG interview with creator and designer Edmund McMillen.

Super Meat Boy is expected to release "end of the yearish" with a price point that will be "just enough to annoy forum kids but affordable enough for them to still buy the game".

GameSetLinks: Developers We Have Known And Loved

May 27, 2009 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[GameSetLinks is GameSetWatch's daily link round-up post, culling from hundreds of weblogs and outlets to compile the most interesting longform writing, links, and criticism on the art and culture of video games.]

As the week continues, time to return to the GameSetLinks - this time headed up by Crispy Gamer, with an interesting discussion on whether there are some developers that you can just be cool with, no matter what cruft they decide to unleash upon the market, because you love 'em so.

Also in here - lots of discussion of Flower, the Co-Op guys talk about being game video masters, some fun stuff from a GSW columnist on what's wrong with tabletop RPGs, and plenty more besides.

Go go go:

Crispy Gamer - Column: Thought/Process: The Lifetime Pass: What It Is and How to Earn It
'It's hard to give out free passes to game creators because the finished product is usually the result of a team.' But attempts are made here, with fun results.

Critical Distance | Flower
Really nice compilation of critical analyses/reviews of Flower.

Hypercombofinish :: How To Be Me: Matt Chandronait, Area 5 Founder & Producer
'Matt works as producer, editor and *actor* for Area 5 Media's flagship show CO-OP, "a weekly look at the meaningful, the important, the interesting, or the just plain fun games that are out there or will be coming out.'

Post Position » Well Played
'Well Played 1.0: Video Game, Value and Meaning is now out from ETC Press. It’s available in print from Lulu.com and has been offered to the creative commons and can be downloaded as a PDF or read on the Web.'

Videogame Violence and the Dark Side of Flow | GameCulture
'While I believe that media researchers have almost chronically mistaken the psychological effects of "the flow state" as evidence of desensitization to real-world violence, Thompson's piece does make me think about how "flow" in violent games might desensitize us to representations of violence, even when those representations involve the real thing.'

Ludus Novus » Blog Archive » What’s Wrong with Tabletop RPGs
'I’ve been working on a tabletop RPG system, and one of the things any creator needs to ask is “what’s wrong with what’s already there?” and “how can I make it better?” Here, then, is a list of the things wrong with tabletop roleplaying games.'

Greek Drama Game Tackles Alcoholism, Sexual Identity

May 26, 2009 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Toronto-based indie Phantom Compass just announced its latest PC/Mac project, Dionysian Dream, a Greek drama game looking to explore social issues like alcohol abuse, familial estrangement, and sexual identity with a storyline that incorporates a real tragedy with an imagined dream world.

The 3D title is designed to teach both adult and teen players (at home or in classrooms) about the basics of Greek drama, as well as its relationship to current culture and society. It also brings in famous fictional characters as well as important playwrights, such as Euripedes and Sophocles, who will encourage players to compare and contrast their works and styles.

Phantom Compass hopes to make this the "game equivalent of a short film", at least as far as length is concerned, as players can expect to complete the experience in less than three hours.

“Dionysian Dream looks at historic Greek drama through a contemporary lens,” said the studio's founding director Tony Walsh, who you might recall briefly served as editor for this very blog! “We use the Euripides play ‘The Bacchae’ as a springboard to explore timeless social issue... We’re going places most games -- and gamers -- fear to tread.”

In-Depth: Inside The Making Of Deadly Creatures

May 26, 2009 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Extracting from the just-debuted issue of Game Developer magazine, here's some interesting, hopefully instructive info on the creation of the actually slightly slept-on Deadly Creatures from Rainbow/THQ.]

The latest issue of Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine includes a postmortem of Rainbow Studios' Deadly Creatures written by technical director James Comstock.

Best known for its racing titles, THQ-owned, Phoenix-based developer Rainbow Studios decided to take a chance on a unique game idea that that would immerse players in the violent microcosm of the insect world.

The following excerpts from Game Developer magazine's recent postmortem from the Deadly Creatures team would have to overcome a number of significant obstacles along the way to realizing the dark adventure.

As Rainbow's Comstock explained, “First, we planned for the development team to be small and built from the ground up, often through external hires. Second, the title was planned for the Nintendo Wii only, which was a new console at the time and had an unproven controller."

"Third, the title was new IP. Fourth, Rainbow has traditionally made racing games, so the IP was a departure from the core competencies of our personnel and tools. As I often sum it up: new team, new IP, new genre, new platform, new controller.”

Still Loading: Vectorized C64 Screens

May 26, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Way of the Rodent forumer Mugsy has kept busy since we last introduced his vectorized versions of Commodore 64 loading screens, posting a dozen new pieces since for titles like Monty on the Run, Head Over Heels, and Sanxion.

As with the previous images, these screens are desktop wallpaper-sized, so you can keep this cute shot of Gizmo peeking out of a dresser drawer on your computer's background, revealing to your coworkers how much of an Elite Systems fanboy you are.

You can see all the loading screens on Daily Rodent, and a coupe of my favorites from the new batch below:

Best Of Member Blogs: From Newbie Budgeting To Outgrowing Nintendo

May 26, 2009 1:00 PM | Simon Carless

In big sister site Gamasutra's weekly Best of Member Blogs column, we showcase notable pieces of writing from members of the game community who maintain Member Blogs on Gamasutra.

Member Blogs can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while invitation-only Expert Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- are written by selected development professionals.

Our favorite blog post of the week will earn its author a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra's sister publication, Game Developer magazine. (All magazine recipients outside of the United States or Canada will receive lifetime electronic subscriptions.)

We hope that our blog sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information, check out the official posting guidelines.

This Week's Standout Member Blogs

- Et Tu Nintendo?
(Benjamin Quintero)

Hardcore gamers give Nintendo a hard time for "abandoning" them, but Benjamin Quintero says that he came to the realization that "Nintendo hadn't abandoned its roots, I simply outgrew them."

The NES and SNES generation continues to lament how their favorite game maker has left them by the wayside to attract a broader demographic -- but perhaps with the Wii, Nintendo has been truer to its fun-for-everyone roots more so than it has for the previous two hardware generations...

For his effort, Benjamin will receive a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine.

Sweeney's Dad Still Sending Out ZZT Orders

May 26, 2009 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Just a week after we posted about recommended games created with Tim Sweeney's ZZT, the text-based action/adventure/puzzle game with a built-in editor and scripting language, sister-site Gamasutra posted an in-depth interview with the developer discussing the DOS game's origins and why he changed his studio's name from Potomac Computer Systems to Epic MegaGames.

This bit where the Epic CEO explains how ZZT orders are still being received and sent out 18 years after the game originally released and a decade after he renamed the company is particularly amusing:

"My father still lives at the address where Potomac Computer Systems started up, so he still gets an order every few weeks... he's retired now, so he doesn't have much to do. Every week, he'll just take a stack of a few orders, put disks in them, and mail them out. So you can still buy ZZT."

You can read the full interview at Gamasutra.

Bioshock 2 Concept Art, Wallpapers

May 26, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Bioshock 2's senior character designer Colin Fix has put up some fantastic concept art for the upcoming PC/PS3/Xbox 360 game, like this piece of Big Sister and the Big Daddy Doll, which toy/comic/gaming blog Super Punch has posted as downloadable wallpapers.

Colin notes that his wife, Annie Fix, also did a lot of the character designs for the game: "Pretty much all the design work on the game that involved little sisters was done by her. She brought just the right sensitive feminine touch to these freaky little sweethearts." You can see more examples of their work below:

COLUMN: Alt Space: 'The PC: The Champion of the Revolution'

May 26, 2009 8:00 AM |

['Alt Space' is a new column by critic and writer Phill Cameron, discussing the relationship between the personal computer and gaming. First up - a call to appreciate the PC as ground zero of the current indie video game revolution.]

It all started here. Decades ago, games were made on the first computers, on the Amigas and Commodores that took only a few people to develop, putting in long hours to come up with innovative ways to make pixels move on the screen.

Then the big money came in, buying up the talent and churning out Triple A titles like there's no tomorrow. Games and game development stayed insular for the longest time, just because it took so long to learn how to make the games. By the time you knew how, you were already part of the system. And then things got a little easier, and that's when things got really interesting.

Over the past few years, there's been a crescendo. Independently made games have gone from novelties to an entire subgenre, capable of earning the makers a living, if they so choose. No longer are indie games enjoyed by just the few who pay attention to the scene. Now, all you have to be is an enthusiast tuned into the right channels to know about the latest brilliant step. It's happened so quickly that it's hard to recognise a tipping point.

One day you were just playing the big titles, perhaps indulging in the odd flash game if the moment took you, the next, you're laying down £10 for something like World of Goo, and declaring it the best game of your year.

Girl Has Lucky Week, Reaches Mars

May 26, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

When we last reported on the length of Noby Noby Boy's spacefaring, stretching creature Girl, her estimated time of arrival to Mars was a distant 2700 days away, a depressing projection brought on by the lack of players contributing their Boy-stretching stats to help her grow.

Less than six weeks later, though, Girl has reached the red planet thanks to a Lucky Week promotion that multiplied lengths submitted by players, sometimes by as much as 765, according to gamer reports. You can see just how fast she grew in the above chart taken from Noby Noby Stats.

Now Girl can set her sights on the next planet on her itinerary, Jupiter. Here are a couple screenshots released by Namco Bandai of Boy partying on Mars:

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