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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

GameSetNetwork: Best Of The Week

July 27, 2009 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

Rounding up the last seven days a tad later than normal, it's time to recap the top full-length features and news of the past week on big sister site Gamasutra, plus extra features and Game Design Challenge goodness from fellow edu site GameCareerGuide.

There's actually a boatload of interesting stuff this time out, including our in-depth NPD report, a v.neat chat with the Little King's Story creator, an overview of game PR, a round-up of the Casual Connect coverage we did in association with Gamezebo, plus the latest GameCareerGuide Design Challenge results and new Challenge, wow.

Lost in time:

Yoshiro Kimura's Strange Journeys
"Gamasutra sits down with Little King's Story and Chulip creator Yoshiro Kumira, a game designer with a different way of looking at the world, to discuss his titles and look at pages from his game sketchbook."

A New Life for Arcades?
"In an overview of the current arcade game business, industry consultant Kevin Williams examines the state of the market, probing why, although the Western arcade biz is much changed from its '80s heyday, there's still room for new products."

Sponsored Feature: The All-Important Import Pipeline
"In this feature, part of Intel's Visual Computing section, Rod Green discusses the creation of art pipelines for the firm's Project Offset engine/game, explaining why studios "should be aiming to sever the umbilical cord" and implement a 'common format' approach to art pipelines."

NIS Teases PSP Title, Prinny Transformations

July 27, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Disgaea series developer and publisher Nippon Ichi Software promises a new title for the PSP with a flyer announcing "Hero Transformation Project Starts".

The advertisement features a costumed and caped figure with a big V on his belt and a bigger V across his chest (perhaps a distant relative of Viewtiful Joe?), transforming into a tank, a cat, a vehicle modeled after the company's Prinny mascot, a character with drills for hands (inconvenient for handling silverware and many other tasks, I'm sure!), and other strange forms.

They flyer doesn't provide any more detail than the impressive spritework (as is expected from NIS), but the company's U.S. office revealed last month that its Disgaea team is working on a strategy RPG for the PSP, possibly with a PSN download. That game is expected to feature a "new type of battle system", which is par for the course with the company's SRPGs.

Telltale's Vanaman: 'Authorship Is Important In Any Creative Industry'

July 27, 2009 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Our own Chris Remo is covering Comic-Con 2009 for us, and he caught up with Telltale Games designer Sean Vanaman (Sam & Max, Tales of Monkey Island) to discuss the crediting of writers and designers and why "authorship is really important in any creative industry."]

Telltale Games is known for its unusual episodic model of game development and distribution, but its process also hinges on a specific attitude to authorship: assigning and crediting each of its episodes to a single overall writer and designer.

That allows the company to say each of its episodes is “by” a particular person, an increasingly uncommon practice in today's era of ever-ballooning development teams.

Designer Sean Vanaman, a Disney creative development veteran who wrote the third episode of Telltale's Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures as well as an upcoming episode of the recently-begun Tales of Monkey Island has strong feelings on the role of authorship in games. During Comic-Con 2009, we spoke with Vanaman to hear why he thinks it's so important.

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2009 Edition (Part 4)

July 26, 2009 4:00 PM | Mister Raroo

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos[GameSetWatch has sent GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family to San Diego Comic-Con to report on their adventures there. We'll be running daily updates from the Raroos as the convention progresses, and after the first, second, and third parts, the fourth segment is about Saturday.]

Saturday, July 25: Running on Fumes

We were originally planning on being at the Convention Center in plenty of time to catch a SpongeBob SquarePants panel at 10:30 am, but all the activity of the past few days has caught up with us and we opted to sleep late instead. Seeing as we were running out of energy throughout the day as it was, I think we made the right decision to let our bodies rest a bit. All in all, we felt both physically tired and a little worn out on Comic-Con in general. It is grueling.

Our slight ennui was compounded by a couple of dud booths. I really wanted to see Scribblenauts at the Warner Bros. booth, but celebrity signings meant the booth was off limits, even though they had a demo station up and running. To top it off, the WB representatives were rather rude when I asked if I could take a quick look at Scribblenauts, so we figured they weren’t worth any more of our time and we went elsewhere.

Sadly, we fared no better at the Mattel booth, where they had Cars toys on sale. Kaz has almost all of the main characters in his collection, but he’s missing Sarge and Sally, both of which were being sold for five dollars each. However, when we got to the front of the line we were informed we couldn’t buy a specific character, but instead would be given a random character for our five dollars. We didn’t want to waste our money since we probability wouldn’t have been able to snag Sarge or Sally without dropping a small fortune, so we told them to forget it. The day was not going well.

Thankfully, my luck soon changed. Taking the time to try out Ignition Entertainment’s games turned my mood around and put me in high spirits. After going a round or two with the impressive-looking King of Fighters XII, I noticed Ignition’s Shane Bettenhausen walking around and introduced myself. Not only had Shane heard of GameSetWatch (hooray!), but he was more than happy to guide me through a demo of Muramasa: The Demon Blade.

Round Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of July 24

July 26, 2009 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

In our latest employment-tastic round-up, we highlight some of the notable jobs posted in big sister site Gamasutra's industry-leading game jobs section this week, including positions from Volition, Namco and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted in each market area this week include:

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 7/25/09

July 26, 2009 8:00 AM |

['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]

hcg35.jpg

I know I am extremely late with this news, but starting wtih the current issue, Hardcore Gamer is now an online-only publication. This brings the total number of US print mags in current circulation to a mere nine, down from about 15 back in 2004.

This is no big surprise after the mag suddenly went seasonal in '08 and tried to sell off its brand name back in January, just as Ziff Davis Media handed its game group over to Hearst. Still, a run of 34 issues, with content as -- well -- hardcore as HGM had, on as low of a budget as they ran with, in an extremely hostile economic environment for print mags of any sort, is nothing to sniff at. I wish 'em well in the future.

Anyway, this column (covering all the mags that have hit readers' mailboxes in the past couple weeks) is at once exciting and not-so -- there's a ton to cover, but since we're in the post-E3, pre-Xmas-rush period right now, nothing too devastating is happening in mag-land. Click on to read on.

Gamasutra Member Blogs: From A Holocaust Board Game To Kid Pirates

July 26, 2009 12:00 AM | 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.

In this set of links, we look at the grim Holocaust board game Train, how Legend Of Zelda's story timeline works, and... kid pirates?

This Week's Standout Member Blogs

- Reflections on Train
(Sande Chen)

Writer and game designer Sande Chen considers Train, the grim, symbolism-filled Holocaust-inspired board game by games industry mainstay Brenda Braithwaite. While it's a board game not intended for commercial sale (it's a one-of-one board game), it's a fascinating, artful idea that shows how a "game" can also provoke thought and emotions, as uncomfortable as they may be.

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

- Maximize Your Contract Composer's Potential by Enhancing Early Communication
(Jesse Hopkins)

Musical preference is highly subjective, and that inherent trait can act as the root of many difficulties between a video game composer and the game developer. Professional contract composer Jesse Hopkins explains the pitfalls of the relationship and how a musician can avoid them through proper communication.

- Legend of Zelda has No Coherent Timeline?
(Seth Sivak)

Gamasutra member blogger Seth Sivak revisits a recent statement by Nintendo that shot down a fan's theory that there is some sort of coherent timeline for the events of games in the Legend of Zelda series. So if it's just the same "hero saves girl" scenario over and over again, why do players keep coming back for more?

- The Rise Of The Handheld
(Josh Bycer)

Regular member blogger Josh Bycer recounts how the handheld grew from a third-tier gaming option to a platform that stands toe-to-toe with PC and home console offerings. Here, he speculates on the next step for gaming handhelds and inherent design challenges unique to platforms such as Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.

- Buried in Plastic - Piracy and Children
(Jon Hayward)

After hearing a woman tell her children at a retailer, "No, I won't buy the Nintendo games, daddy will download what you want when we get home", Jon Hayward is mad as hell. There are cheap gaming options that aren't piracy -- think of the children, he implores.

In-Depth: Xbox Live Arcade Sales Analysis, June 2009

July 25, 2009 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Courtesy of sister console downloadable site GamerBytes, Ryan Langley examines June 2009's Xbox Live Arcade debuts, from Magic: The Gathering to Wolfenstein 3D and beyond, to find out what soared and what faltered last month - really important, interesting data.]

The Xbox Live Arcade continues to grow each month, and June was no different. Fifteen titles made their way to the Xbox 360's digital download service, more than any other month in its history. It was filled with old classics, new titles, and games to fit into almost every genre available on the marketplace.

But this influx of many -- perhaps too many -- games comes as a cost. A much expanded catalogue means games don’t get a chance to stand on their own merits, and instead they swiftly fall off the recent release list.

We look at two different sources for our analysis – the weekly top 10 list released by Larry Hyrb on MajorNelson.com, and, when applicable, the online Leaderboards included in every title. We see what appears to have done well, what hasn’t, and what publishers and developers can do to perform better in the marketplace.

Note that due to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, as well as Larry Hryb's trip to Iraq, two weeks of data were never disclosed. (We'll do what we can to bridge this by using Leaderboard data.)

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2009 Edition (Part 3)

July 25, 2009 8:00 AM | Mister Raroo

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos[GameSetWatch has sent GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family to San Diego Comic-Con to report on their adventures there. We'll be running daily updates from the Raroos as the convention progresses, and after the first and second parts, the third segment is about Friday.]

Friday, July 24: Quite a Contrast

The great thing about attending every day of Comic-Con is that it helps me fall into the type of “vacation mode” that I enjoyed as a kid during the Summer months away from school. We woke up when we were ready to wake up, took our time getting ready to go, and headed over to the Convention Center at our own pace.

Today we brought Kaz and decided to experiment by not taking along a stroller. Even though that meant a great part of the day was spent with a nearly-40 pound weight riding upon my shoulders, it beat trying to navigate a stroller through the daunting crowds. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be going stroller-less for the remainder of the convention.

Not-So-Wonderful WomanOn the walk from our car to the Convention Center, we stopped off for a bite to eat. Kaz and I polished off an especially decadent hot fudge sundae. I couldn’t believe how much ice cream my little son ate, not to mention the fact that he let us know he still wanted more by chanting “Ice Cream! Ice Cream!” when the bowl was empty. But we figured he had more than enough sugar and made our way to the Convention Center.

Even though I praised the creativity of many of the costumed attendees in yesterday’s update, I witnessed a couple outfits today that made me realize that some people are better off in street clothes. Whether it was a Klingon with “cameltoe” or Wonder Woman with a not-so-wonderful rear end, there were plenty of examples of sights I didn’t ask to see. I wasn’t the only one in disapproval, either, as I overheard someone behind me make a comment about Wonder Woman to the effect of, “Man, I hope that doesn’t fly around in an invisible plane.”

Best Of Indie Games: With A Little Help From My Friends

July 25, 2009 12:00 AM | 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 edition include a 2D platform game with 3D graphics, two adventure games about spirits and ghosts, and a Flash game created with Adam Atomic's flixel framework.

Other highlights include an exploration platformer in which you play an agile fox, a game that involves gathering a group of friends for your birthday party, and a new score-based arcade game from Adult Swim.

Game Pick: 'Trine' (Frozenbyte, commercial indie - demo available)
"The concept of Trine goes something like this: A wizard, a thief and a warrior are stuck together by forces unknown, and set out on a quest to find means of separating themselves. You would need to switch between characters with different abilities frequently, in order to defeat enemies and get the better of platforming-based puzzles in this game."

Game Pick: 'The Blackwell Convergence' (Wadjet Eye Games, commercial indie - demo available)
"The story in The Blackwell Convergence follows Rosangela Blackwell, a spirit medium, and her ghostly guide Joey Mallone as they attempt to locate wandering souls and help them find peace. Players take control of Rosa and Joey, both with their unique abilities, in an attempt to piece together exactly what has happened to each ghost they find and set about easing them into the light."

Game Pick: 'Wonder Bounce' (Robert Lupinek, browser)
"Darthlupi's first foray into the world of Flash game development, where you play an apprentice named Ishmoo whose soul was separated from his body in an accident. Lost souls will try and possess the lifeless body of our protagonist lying on the floor, but you can keep them at bay by using the ancient art of Wonder Bounce learnt from the scroll that placed him in this situation in the first place."

Game Pick: 'William and Sly' (Lucas Paakh, browser)
"William and Sly is the story of one fox's journey around a vast landscape, and it's wonderfully charming and peaceful. The playing field is absolutely huge and takes a good amount of time to just run across. There's also tons of hidden pathways under the ground too, so be prepared to do quite a bit of exploration here."

Game Pick: 'Tanaka's Friendly Adventure' (Bento Smile, freeware)
"Something of a mix between Passage and Polkadot, Tanaka's Friendly Adventure is a charming little exploration game that involves gathering a group of friends to attend the titular character's birthday party celebration. There's no time limit to rush you into doing anything, and the adventure can be replayed as many times as you want."

Game Pick: 'Floater' (Adult Swim, browser)
"A score-based satirical arcade game created by This is Pop, where the objective is to prod a body down the river with a stick as quickly as you can before time runs out. Since you have no direct control over the corpse, points are scored by inflicting injuries such as burns, bruises, and animal bites on it."

Game Pick: 'Heed' (Ben Chandler, freeware)
"A short adventure game developed with the reliable AGS engine, where you assume control over an unnamed protagonist who is searching for the purpose of his existence. There's not a lot of puzzles in this release, and none of them are particularly difficult, although the game has been structured in such a way that you would only find the interesting ones in the second half of your adventure."

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