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Archive For May, 2009

GameSetLinks: Vices, Vidi, Vici?

May 26, 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.]

We're keeping up with the GameSetLinks wunderbar-ness as the week continues, and while I'm here, can I just give a massive, random shout-out to BoingBoing's Offworld? I think most of you know it already, but my buddy Brandon Boyer is providing some of the only sustained alt.game coverage out there. Rock. Him and RockPaperShotgun have got this whole 'entertaining Internet game blogging for non-dummies' down.

OK, onwards to links - and this set has Duncan Fyfe going Braid-y on Hit Self-Destruct, plus the seldomly updated but super-entertaining Murderblog 3D, Magical Wasteland on teh PixelVixen, and lots more.

Nineteen oh one:

Hit Self-Destruct: Hit Self-Esteem
'Jonathan Blow appears to read everything that is written about Braid on the internet, so you can imagine him looking over your breakthrough analysis and shaking his head dismissively.'

ihobo: Ten Game Development Vices, Part One
And there's a part two, of course - lists are always fun, as the Internet well knows.

Where is the Leonard Part 6 of gaming? » Murderblog 3D
'Cynicism amplifies the joy of discovery. We need to lower the bar. Games will never be considered art until they’ve had a spectacular failure like this that completely degrades the industry as a whole, allowing beautiful works to truly stand out.'

[I ♥ The PC Engine] Shanghai @ Magweasel
Interesting discussion on the history of Shanghai - the Activision proto-casual classic - and its game design derivations here.

Reality as It Is Today (Magical Wasteland)
Nice piece, and I do believe that the PV is quoted MORE than once in this article, heh.

Critical Distance | Punk and Indie Games
'The game industry today shares many qualities with the bloated, elaborate, high-concept music industry of the 70’s. Budgets are skyrocketing, endless sequels are the norm, and team sizes range in the hundreds. At the same time, many of us pine for the kind of games we grew up with, the ones that made us fall in love with the medium in the first place.'

Knight News Game Awards Reveals 'Journalistic' Finalists

May 25, 2009 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Organizers for the first annual Knight News Game Awards, which seeks to honor games that are "journalistic and enhance people’s ability to make decisions in a democracy", announced the competition's four finalists.

The titles were picked out according to several criteria: "their role as investigative reporting tools, they needed to expose an unknown logic or new information, uncover a truth, or provide editorial or commentary on a current event or issue." According to its definition on the award's page, "news games" are typically tied to the current news cycle and produced in under a month or two, acting like an op-ed or political cartoon.

You can read about and find links to the finalists below:

Photos from Brighton's Pixel Hail Art Show

May 25, 2009 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

This past weekend, Brighton's Fishing Museum hosted Pixel Hail, a multimedia exhibition of art from video game developers, with local UK studios such as Doublesix (Burn Zombie Burn!) and Media Molecule showing pieces from their titles.

The gallery also had artwork inspired by video games, so you could also see items like Mikaël "Orioto" Aguirre's wallpapers depicting scenes from classic games, Jude Buffum's 8-bit painting of a Saved by the Bell massacre, and several of the Something Awful forum's video game book covers presented as actual paperbacks.

Pixel Hail's Facebook page shows some of the pieces that were at the show, and software developer Tom Hume also has a few photos from the three-day event, a couple of which I've pasted below.

If you missed the show, AtomFire Productions, the developer that puts on the event, plan to run the exhibition again at the Develop conference in Brighton this July 14th to 16th.

GDC Austin Reveals iPhone Games Summit Plans, Call For Submission

May 25, 2009 2:00 PM | Simon Carless

[The second of GDC Austin's new Summits that I have my greasy little fingers in, the iPhone Games Summit, has announced and is now accepting submissions - if you're an iPhone dev, maybe consider putting forward a lecture/]

Organizers of this September's GDC Austin have announced a call for submissions for its new iPhone Games Summit, following a similar call for the Indie Games Summit earlier this week.

Initial information about the September 15th-16th iPhone Games Summit is available on the GDC Austin website, with organizers noting that the first day will discuss "the business, marketing, and key design tenets behind successful iPhone game development", before the second day "provides overviews and deep dives into technical aspects of developing on iPhone."

The Advisory Board for the Summit, which will be announcing its first speakers in the next few weeks, include local Austin-area iPhone developer Brian Greenstone, founder and president of Enigmo creator Pangea Software, as well as Snappy Touch's Noel Llopis, a Game Developer magazine columnist and creator of notable iPhone app Flower Garden.

As the GDC Austin iPhone Games Summit call for submissions page explains, organizers are looking for business topics including marketing do-s and don't-s, game postmortems, alternative and innovative monetization methods, and paths to success on the App Store.

In addition, for the technical day, topics wanted include 3D engine and app discussions, Objective C tips, 3.0 OS features, approaches to using multi-touch, the accelerometer, and networking, and other detailed technical subjects.

The submission deadline for presentation abstracts for the 2009 iPhone Games Summit at Austin GDC is June 3rd at midnight PST, and more information is available on the official GDC Austin iPhone Games Summit website.

8-Bit Homies Are Dissing Your Girl

May 25, 2009 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Video game music netlabel Pterodactyl Squad revealed that it is putting together a chiptune tribute to Weezer, enlisting a crew of micromusic notables to cover the alternative rock group's hits, like "Why Bother?" and "El Scorcho". They're even making a chiptune version of "Jamie", my favorite track from the DGC Rarities, Vol. 1 album (other than Teenage Fanclub's "Mad Dog 20/20").

You can see the upcoming album's cover art by David Mauro and full tracklist, which features artists like Anamanaguchi and Tugboat, after the break. You can also download an MP3 version of PDF Format's "You Won't Get With Me Tonight" video above at 8-Bit Collective.

Raw Danger PSP Grip, Preview

May 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

To commemorate the Japanese release of Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3 (the latest entry in the Raw Danger/Disaster Report series), accessory manufacturer MSY has released a system shell that can be used as a grip, useful for games where "the excitement level can ramp up, which causes sweaty and slippery palms", according to import retailer NCSX.

It will also help you hold onto your PSP should there be a real-life earthquake or a building-rattling tornado, as there tend to be in this survival action adventure game. Notice the "cracked asphalt" texture on the accessory designed to mirror the broken city in ZZT3. The Zettai Zetsumei Grip also can be used as a system stand with the support bar on its back.

When we last talked about ZZT3, we featured a screenshot-filled diary of the game's first thirty minutes by CoreGamers' Bruno de Figueiredo. Since then, he's recorded another segment of the game, in which he dodges cars falling from the top floors of a garage, and finds a wicked pair of Hiroshi Yamauchi-style sunglasses.

Interview: Riot Games On The Birth Of League Of Legends

May 25, 2009 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Interesting to see the 'defense'-related genre getting so busy, from a variety of angles, and here's another multiplayer-centric one to look forward to - Chris Remo sat down with the folks at Riot Games to discuss the intriguing upcoming PC title League Of Legends.]

WarCraft III RPG/strategy mod Defense of the Ancients has attracted millions of players, and now Riot Games, a team including DOTA's co-designer is taking the concept full-scale commercial with League of Legends, due out later this year.

It's the first title for the Los Angeles-based studio, which announced the project at the end of 2008. Other games, most notably Gas Powered Games' Demigod, have aimed to spiritually succeed DOTA, but Riot Games is attempting to recreate the game more literally, and has DOTA co-designer Steve "Guinsoo" Feak on board.

Here, we speak to director of systems design Tom Cadwell and community relations director Steve Mescon about the special considerations in evolving a wildly popular Warcraft III mod into a commercial RTS/RPG.

They discuss how League of Legends -- which can't escape being abbreviated LoL -- is both like and unlike the original DOTA, and modding as an avenue into full-scale development:

Sucker Punch Developer Diary Video Series

May 25, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Gametrailers has a fantastic three-part video series profiling Infamous developer Sucker Punch Productions, offering interviews with employees at nearly every level, from the studio's co-founders to SCEA's development director to Infamous' quality assurance testers.

The developer diary focuses less on the studio's PS3-exclusive game, and more on topics like finding ways to spend time with your family during crunch times and how the company began developing 3D platforming/action games.

"When we started, we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. And so, in our naïveté, we decided to do games that were like the games that we really liked, which were, you know, Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot," says co-founder and development director Chris Zimmerman, discussing Sucker Punch's first game, Rocket: Robot on Wheels for N64. "We didn't pick something easy to go and do. We had to pick the hardest possible thing to go try to do."

Another interesting detail about this developer diary series is that it was shot and produced by 2 Player Productions, the same group behind chiptune documentary Reformat the Planet. You can even hear chiptune tracks playing in the background in these videos!

"We met one of the senior Sony developers at PAX last year," says 2PP producer Paul Levering. "He loved Reformat the Planet [and] said he wanted us to work on some stuff with them. [He] hooked us up with Sucker Punch."

You can watch the other two parts of the Sucker Punch video series at Infamous' Gametrailers page.

GameSetLinks: 1066 And All That

May 25, 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 we roll into what can only be a holiday Monday in the U.S., time to boot up a few GameSetLinks from both last week and this previous weekend - and we hope everyone's having a pleasant, at least semi-relaxing time.

Highlights this time: another neat Channel 4 educational game, a rave for Raiden Fighter Aces on the Xbox 360, an excellent look at the E3 Game Critics Awards, Chris Morris pops up at Variety, the continuing saga of Christian game company Left Behind, and plenty more.

A b c:

Wonderland: 1066: the game
Via Alice: 'Here's another big fat flash game from Channel 4 Education for you: made by Preloaded, and to complement the C4 factual drama 1066, it's a historically accurate (right down to the taunts) military strategy game. Multiplayer, too.'

Getting Ahead In The Industry - Zack Hiwiller
'Here is the unhappy truth: those who do whatever it takes to make the game the best they believe it can be are seen as boat-rockers.'

It's as easy as this: 'You know what I like doing? I like telling you to buy videogames. Buy Raiden Fighters Aces! Do it now! Twenty bucks! Do it! Do it!'

Crispy Gamer - Column: Press Pass: The Most Important Game Critics at E3
Whatever misgiving I may have about CG's biz model, they are really commissioning some excellent articles - this one is well worth checking out.

Kotaku - Indie Devs Turn To In-Game Ads After Piracy Strike - In-game Advertising
Interesting piece cos it shows the struggles of indies, but do the Raycatcher guys really think they're gonna make more money doing ads in a Unity web browser game than putting their game on Steam? Cos that's not going to happen in today's market, I don't think.

The Cut Scene: 'Hey, who’s the new guy?'
Ah, CNN Money's Chris Morris, long dormant in his games writing, pops back up following in Ben Fritz's footsteps - neat.

Digital Foundry /// Eurogamer
V.interesting super-techy blog gets a home semi-hidden on EG. Neat, though.

The Extraordinary Saga Of Left Behind | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Left Behind Games is a crazy company - witness previous attempts to bother us, way back, for actually nothing - nice Walker post here.

COLUMN: Bell, Game, and Candle - "An Obtained Copy of Reggie Fils-Aime’s E3 Keynote Speech"

May 24, 2009 4:00 PM |

['Bell, Game, and Candle' is a regular-ish GameSetWatch-exclusive column by writer Alex Litel, discussing stuff that happens - or doesn't happen - in the game business. In this edition, he returns from a three-month hiatus to provide the NSFW first of two exclusive E3 bombshells.]

Firstly, I would like to say welcome to all of the dweebs and non-dweebs who have to be here because their place of employment fired the dweebs.

Also, I would like to tell some jokes.

What is an item on the menu of a hip-hop-themed hot-dog stand? “Kanye Wurst”

What rhetorical question does a runner ask to inspire sympathy? “Have you ever jogged a mile in my shoes?”

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