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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, 2009

Best of FingerGaming: From Golvellius to Monkey Island

July 29, 2009 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Every week, Gamasutra sums up sister iPhone site FingerGaming's top news and reviews for Apple's nascent -- and increasingly exciting -- portable games platform, as written by editor in chief Danny Cowan and authors Louise Yang and Jonathan Glover.]

This week, FingerGaming covers the upcoming titles Golvellius: Valley of Doom and Pac-Man Remix, and highlights recent releases like The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Pinball Fantasies and Zombies vs. Sheep.

Here's the top stories from the last seven days:

- LucasArts Ports The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition to iPhone
"LucasArts makes its iPhone debut today with the release of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, an upgraded port of the company's landmark PC point-and-click adventure title."

- Free App Releases: Car Jack Streets, Space Ace, and More
"This week's free releases include demo editions of Car Jack Streets and Space Ace, along with free full versions of All 51 Games Free and Axe Pogo Extreme.

Mario Hunter Ukiyo-e Art

July 29, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Singaporean illustrator William "xiabaosg" Chua created this Ukiyo-e style piece bringing together the worlds of Super Mario Bros. and Capcom's Monster Hunter series. Bowser seems to fit into the world perfectly, more so than the T-rex in the background (perhaps that's supposed to be Yoshi?). Mario as a samurai, while not as brilliant as this, also looks great.

This "Hunting Season" art will appear in German publisher Uber Books' upcoming Designers Games Remix -- the same book featuring the Crystal Castles tribute I mentioned last month. Looking forward to the book's release!

[Via The Daily What]

Interview: Rockin' Android On Bringing Japanese 'Doujin' Titles To The West

July 29, 2009 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

[The doujin gaming movement has seen little exposure outside Japan, but publisher Rockin' Android's Enrique Galvez discusses his mission with new GSW writer Zoran Iovanovici -- specifically, bringing top niche Japanese indie PC titles to the West.]

The doujin gaming scene has exploded in popularity over in its native country of Japan with an intense community of fan created games that often rival their commercial counterparts.

If the term 'doujin gaming' sounds relatively new, it's no surprise. There's been little exposure of the movement outside of Japan. That's all about to change now that publisher Rockin' Android has hit the scene. We sat down with President and Founder Enrique Galvez at Anime Expo 09 to get the low down on how Rockin' Android is poised to inject the Western market with a heavy dose of doujin gaming.

For a guy whose company was making its public debut at a major convention, he seemed surprisingly cool and upbeat, like a young kid anxious to show others his prized possession at show-and-tell. When I asked him if he made any special preparations for the event, his response couldn't be any more nonchalant.

When Pigs Fly (And Perish 400+ Times As A Result)

July 29, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Anna "Auntie Pixelante/dessgeega" Anthropy, a familiar name here for her work on Calamity Annie and Octopounce, has a new sponsored Flash game titled When Pigs Fly now available to play for free through Newgrounds.

In this 2D platformer, you pilot a delicate, winged piglet (represented with an adorable squealing sprite) through several dozen screens filled with spikes, lava, and other obstacles threatening to tear off your wings. Some of the screens towards the end are intensely difficult to clear, but the feeling of reward that comes after their completion matches your efforts, and the game allows you to quickly jump into another attempt after you die.

Tim from IndieGames.com posted this When Pigs Fly speedrun below (you unlock several modes after clearing the game), and he managed to soar through in less than four minutes with only nine deaths! In my first run, I completed the game in some three hours -- I stepped away from the computer to attend to non-pig-platforming matters at some point -- with around 460 deaths, at least 200 of those suffered at the omega-shaped screen.

GameSetLinks: The Lunar Loonies Blast Off

July 29, 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.]

Continuing a 'just in time' approach to GameSetLinks, this particular set is headed by a nice Benj Edwards historical piece on classic video game Lunar Lander and its birthing, as posted over on Harry McCracken's blog Technologizer (which you don't see linked much from game sites, actually.)

Also hanging out in this link set - Magical Wasteland's magical fiction on voice sessions gone a bit awry, Jeff Minter on the history of Gridrunner (yay!), Tim Rogers rambles gloriously through Wii Sports Resort, scattering confused Mii-s in his wake, and GamesRadar/PC Gamer UK talks the rise of indie, a subject near and dear to me, of course.

Look at you:

Forty Years of Lunar Lander | Technologizer
Great Benj Edwards piece (which we had to pass on, boo!) about Lunar Lander's creation, moon landing tie-in.

Once More with Feeling (Magical Wasteland)
I attended a panel at GDC Austin's Audio Summit once which had voice actors talking about the pain of doing these kind of dialogue sessions.

Llamasoft Blog » A History Of… Gridrunner
Nice history from the Yak, also revealing that the XBLA version is called Gridrunner Revolution nowadays, woo.

Top five craziest uses of historical figures in video games - Den of Geek
I know, a list - but a fun one, naturally topped by Eternal Sonata.

auntie pixelante › level design lesson: the face of mars
Another good Auntie post, this time about a really pretty obscure game that looks cute.

Action Button Dot Net - Wii Sports Resort reviewed by Tim Rogers
Super-entertaining, super tangential writing, as per usual: 'Wii Sports Resort is a laundry list of infuriating things that video games do, though at the same time it is a scary-hot promise of new video game playing experiences to come.'

How indie games took on the world (and won) | GamesRadar
Oo, great PC Gamer UK piece.

Tecmo Koei Turning Concert Attendees Into Zombies

July 28, 2009 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

"It's 2018 - six years after a virus was released at the 2012 Olympics. Zombies dominate the earth and humankind has been mauled, torn and eaten to extinction. The problem is there's not a lot to do now that there are no humans left to rip apart... cue the first post-apocalyptic music festival curated by the undead."

If that premise sounds up your alley, look forward to I Spit On Your Rave, an upcoming mockumentary following the fictional festival by director Chris Boyle and Film4. The filmmaker will shoot all of the movie's footage at a real event, The Big Chill music festival running August 6 - 9 in Herefordshire, England. The four-day show will feature over a hundred sets including David Byrne, Orbital, Basement Jaxx, Lamb,

The film crew wants thousands of ticket holders to show up at the festival made up as zombies to provide material for the mockumentary and help the production potentially get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the "Most Amount of Zombies Captured on Camera". Film4 will edit and screen a short promo for the film towards the end of the festival, and release an online version aftewards.

What does this have to do with video games? Sensing an opportunity to promote its upcoming real-time strategy PSP game Undead Knights (due early 2010), Tecmo Koei is sponsoring the event with "Zombification Stations" where attendees can receive an undead makeover for the film.

Sound Current: Andy Baio on Kickstarting 'Kind of Bloop'

July 28, 2009 4:00 PM | jeriaska

[Continuing our series of GameSetWatch-exclusive 'Sound Current' interviews from Jeriaska, this time he talks to former GameSetWatch guest writer, recently appointed Kickstarter CTO - and actual user of its donation-based creative service - Andy Baio about the retro game chiptune-styled jazz covers album he's commissioned.]

Andy Baio is an independent journalist and programmer who launched the popular Yahoo!-acquired online events calendar Upcoming.org in 2003. Currently working as the CTO of Kickstarter, a funding platform for artists, designers and musicians, his most recent project is an 8-bit jazz album set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue."

"Kind of Bloop: An 8-Bit Tribute to Miles Davis" is an exercise in imagination, asking what the pioneers of jazz music might have sounded like if their medium of choice had been 8-bit game consoles. The concept struck a chord when it was casually announced on twitter, and backers who wanted a copy covered the music album's projected costs via Kickstarter within four hours.

The participating artists are chipmusic heavyweights Ast0r (Chris J. Hampton), Disasterpeace (Rich Vreeland), Sergeeo (Sergio de Prado), Shnabubula (Samuel Ascher-Weiss) and Virt (Jake Kaufman). In this interview on the subject of the album, the project organizer described the strengths of the Kickstarter funding method and the challenges of the album's unprecedented core concept.

Illusion's Twist On New Forced Sex Game

July 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

With women's group Equality Now campaigning against its games that simulate rape on virtual women, and with regulations now in place prohibiting the sale against similar titles in Japan, Rapelay developer Illusion is taking a different approach with its latest hentai game -- since it stars a male demon who submits to forced sex when defeated.

In Yuusha Kara wa Nigerarenai (You Can't Escape From the Heroines), a group of female Dragon Quest lookalikes are chasing the player, a male demon named Maou, to drain his energy through sex and seal him away. When the heroines catch up to players, they'll fight the women off through an odd combat system that involves different and often ridiculous poses (pictured).

When players win the battles, the game will present a consensual sex scene with a female demon, which will strengthen Maou's powers. A defeat, however, will punish players with a scene in which Maou's antagonists steal his energy and become more powerful by having sex with him.

This seems like odd loophole exploitation by Illusion - I'm surprised that the new forced sex restrictions imposed by Japan's Ethics Organization of Computer Software (EOCS) don't take scenarios like this into account.

[Via Sankaku Complex, HongFire]

Quantic Dream's Cage To Keynote GDC Europe

July 28, 2009 1:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Next month's GDC Europe is rapidly approaching, and here's a near-final keynote announcement -- the ever-interesting David Cage -- and a last chance for early-bird registration.]

Quantic Dream founder and CEO David Cage will give a keynote at next month's 2009 Game Developers Conference Europe, say event organizers Think Services (also parent of this website).

Cage, the Indigo Prophecy creator who's currently at work on the highly-anticipated Heavy Rain, will give a talk entitled "Writing Interactive Narrative for a Mature Audience." He'll focus on why mature games are necessary, what difficulties developers face in creating narrative-driven adult games, and will expose possible solutions and techniques in interactive storytelling.

"I am excited to participate at GDC Europe and to represent France in such a well-rounded European keynote roster," he said.

Providing a unified forum for the often-fragmented developer community in the different European countries is a large part of the goal of GDC Europe, says Frank Sliwka, vice president of European Business Development at Think Services' European Game Group. "This is our chance to show what happens in Europe, and what we have in development and services," he tells us.

Fanmade Monkey Island 2 'Special-Uber Edition' Concept

July 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

With LucasArts's special edition remake of the original Monkey Island now out for iPhone, Xbox 360, and iPhone, many fans are looking to a possible enhanced version for the adventure title's sequel, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.

Though not an official demonstration, this 'Special-Uber Edition' video from artists Hannes Appell and Paco Vink shows what that updated sequel might look like with its background art translated into 3D. Rather than simply repainting or redrawing over the original game's artwork, this idea enhances the original scanned 2D art with a camera projection technique usually used for movie visual effects. Appell explains the technique:

"A camera mapping method is used to create higher image fidelity and detail from the original 2D concept art. In further steps I might take this into a real-time engine (like CRYengine 2) to explore the scene.

The technique is normally used to produce 2,5D or 3D mattepaintings out of a 2D or photo source and to speed up the production process. But hey! There is no rule against using it to enhance a normal 2D background. The original art is projected onto simple 3d geometry that is built with the original viewpoint in mind.

If done right, even basic 3d geometry can enhance lighting mood, shadows and surface details. On top of that camera mapping opens up possibilities for animation or a conversion into a faithful 3D level or 3D scene."

Appell adds that if LucasArts has a Maya/Photoshop workflow, the studio should have no trouble applying this technique to a possible Monkey Island 2 remake.

[Via @IdleThumbs]

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