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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 August, 2009

Own A Prototype Of Philips's Unreleased Handheld

August 31, 2009 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Years before the Nintendo DS or DSi were even announced, Philips's had its own handheld with touchscreen functionality, as well as built-in programs for a calculator, an alarm clock, a photo album, drawings, and making music -- the In2It (also known as the Philips KidCom).

Designed as "an educational but fun tool for girls", the In2It was developed after heavy consultation with children about their ideal product. Unfortunately, that system never came to market, but Philips did produce under 100 of them around 1996, five of which were passed around in Finland for a study to see how kids reponded to the handheld.

One of those prototype systems has also popped up on eBay, where it shows a little wear but comes with the original box, games, and accessories. The seller warns that it's "a very rare item and likely your last chance to even see one let alone bid on one" (they could be exaggerating a bit, but I've never even heard of the console before), so keep an eye on this for the next four days if you're interested.

You can find more information of the In2It and see more photos at MarantzPhilips.nl.

[Via GameSniped]

Nihilistic's CEO Dies, Returns As Zombie

August 31, 2009 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

If you met with Nihilistic's CEO Rob Huebner last weekend at GamesCom (and if he happened to bite or puke on you), you might want to see a doctor or priest soon, just in case you have a case of whatever Rob has.

According to Nihilistic's blog, their CEO returned from the event last week with what seemed to be a mild fever. Since then, however, his eyes have turned red, he's lunged at co-workers while yelling about brains, and just the other day, he tore the studio's IT manager in half. Very strange behavior!

Four of the company's workers are currently trapped in the office and for some reason are blogging about their predicament, asking readers for advice on how to escape and offering a poll that will determine their next action in dealing with the zombie now roaming the studio.

What a cruel twist of fate that the developers behind the upcoming XBLA/PSN game Zombie Apocalypse should be attacked by the undead! I hope the Nihilistic dogs are safe!

Experimental Gameplay Project Debuts Prototypes From Gray, Saltsman, and More

August 31, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

The newly returned Experimental Gameplay Project, in which independent developers create a game prototype around a theme each month, has revealed its completed projects for you to play and download for free.

This past month's theme was "Bare Minimum", and the EGP's participants included Henry Hatsworth's father Kyle Gray, 2D Boy's Ron Carmel (World of Goo), Adam "Atomic" Saltsman (Flixel, Fathom) and several others. My favorite out of the bunch is definitely Saltsman's Canabalt, which features a killer soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky.

In Canabalt, your character races across gray rooftops, jumping over obstacles and picking up speed to throw himself over greater distances and through glass windows. The silhouettes of giant mecha lumber in the devastated, smoking skyline, sending ships to buzz past the rattling screen and robots to crash in front of you.

Saltsman created the game in "five very long days" and followed the theme by offering only one button (jump) for the controls and six colors to display everything. He notes that other than the 3MB sound files, he was able to fit the gameplay and graphics in under 100 KB. Quite impressive for a little game I've already played over a hundred times -- it's very addictive, and the randomly generated buildings/obstacles keep the repeated playthroughs fresh.

GameSetInterview: On High School Bug Hunts With Glitch Game Testers

August 31, 2009 12:00 PM |

glitchtesters3.png[Returning to GameSetWatch for a new interview series, Todd Ciolek firstly looks at the folks in Georgia who've created Glitch Game Testers as a way to get high school students professionally game testing, hopefully paving their way for programming experience and bigger things.]

For the typical game tester, plowing through titles and spotting bugs are things to be done outside the classroom, as part-time jobs. Yet a number of high schools and colleges are offering game-testing pursuits as part of curricula, and a fine example lies in Glitch Game Testers.

Founded by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College, the program finds a dozen high-school students playing, evaluating, and bug-hunting their way through the latest games on deck at GameTap, Hi-Rez Studios, EA, Cartoon Network, and other Georgia-based companies.

For a look at just how Glitch Game Testers came about, we went to Betsy DiSalvo, the Georgia Tech student who serves as Glitch’s research leader and program manager:

Best Of GamerBytes: I MAED A GAM3

August 31, 2009 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

aimthexder.png[Sister site to GameSetWatch, GamerBytes' editor Ryan Langley rounds up the top console digital download news of the last week, spanning Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, WiiWare, PSP Minis and DSi.]

Well after the announcement of the PSP Minis program, we've caved in - GamerBytes will now also bring you the latest news in Nintendo DSi and PSP mini software alongside Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and WiiWare titles! Can one man keep up with all this news? Highly unlikely, but he's going to try anyway.

Here's the top announcements and major store updates across these digital download sources over the last seven days - check out GamerBytes [RSS, Twitter] for many more:

Virtua Quarter Pounder

August 31, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

As part of its "Big Mouth" campaign in Japan, McDonald's brought in J-Pop superstar Namie Amuro (often referred to as the "Queen of Japanese pop music") to promote its fast food offerings with a commercial in which she headbutts herself and faces off against a low-polygon model of herself in what looks like a knockoff of Sega's Virtua Fighter.

And if that doesn't convince you that a McDonald's burger is what you need in your life, perhaps the guy yelling out, "Quarterpoundaaaaaa!" at the end will. Advertising is a strange beast! You can watch videos from behind the scenes of the commercial's production, as well as an interview with Amuro at McDonald's Club Quarter Pounder page.

[Via GamezPlay]

Silent Hill Vet Lends A Hand For Tale of Tales's Fatale

August 31, 2009 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Tale of Tales, the Belgian indie developer behind controversial horror game The Path, announced that Salome, the biblical heroine of its next project Fatale, was designed, modeled, and textured by former Silent Hill CGI director Takayoshi Sato.

Sato managed characted design, CGI sequences, and environment for the first two titles from Konami's survival horror series before jumping to Electronic Arts to work on GoldenEye: Rogue Agent and canceled Command & Conquer first-person shooter Tiberium. He now serves as art director of defense contractor Applied Research Associates's Virtual Heroes Division.

Tale of Tales believes that Sato's talents help capture the many interpretations of the woman who would demand the head of John the Baptist, from the "teenager who falls in love with the wrong man at the wrong time", to Oscare Wilde's depiction of "a mad woman, lurking in the shadows of our souls, a selfish, passionate, willful creature who will stop at nothing to get what she wants."

IndieCade 2009 Adds Festival Specifics

August 31, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Independent games expo IndieCade has announced the full line-up for its festival running October 1-4 in Culver City, California (pass prices range from $20 to $290 depending on how much access you want and how many days you intend to walk through).

Now in its third year (and previously taking place at smaller gallery spaces in the Seattle area), IndieCade will feature panels, tools workshops, networking sessions, case studies, performances, artist talks, and pitch sessions with notable game developers. Each day will have a theme for the different sessions: Emotional Depth & Challenging Topics, Innovation & Art, and Next Gen Game Designers – Mentoring, Pitching, Retooling, and Games Education.

The event's scheduled keynote speakers announced so far include Namco Bandai's Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Nobi Nobi Boy) and Thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen (Flow, Flower), who will share "a conversation about innovation". Further speakers include game designer Will Wright, Brenda Brathwaite (Jagged Alliance, Wizardry series), Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted), Robin Hunicke (MySims, Boom Blox), and a number of others.

GameSetLinks: Through The Door, Into The West

August 31, 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.]

Starting up another week of GameSetLinks, we begin with Michael Abbott taking a look at Spider, an iPhone title that's worth looking at from a design perspective as well as, uhh, just fun.

Also in this set of links - a discussion of music games and how over they may or may not be, a moral code for game development looked at, plus a look back at BBS Door games, analysis of whether The Long Tail is truly working in the plethora of current digital titles, and more.

Slanderous myths:

The Brainy Gamer: Emerging
Good discussion of Spider, which is easily one of the most interesting iPhone games released so far, and is doing pretty well in the charts, too.

The Bottom Feeder: Rock Band. Guitar Hero. Why They Are Doomed.
'Someday, we will look back on the Great Music Game Fad and remember the glut of titles and the mountains of instruments at Best Buy and the $299 video game controller and go, "Wow, what was that all about?" and laugh and laugh and laugh.'

Ascii Dreams: Towards a Moral Code for Game Designers
'I suggest there should be a moral code for game designers: one which provides clear examples of the boundaries of which a game design should be careful straying beyond.'

BBS door games: Social Gaming innovation from the 1980s | Andrew Chen (@andrew_chen)
Absolutely great article: 'If there’s one thing to be learned from the BBS games and their related cousins, MUDs, is that great social interactions can trump pretty much everything else.'

1UP's Retro Gaming Blog : The New Age of Games That Got Away
An interesting point by Parish: 'Haven't you noticed? More and more often, quality Japanese games are failing to make their way west.'

Game Tycoon»Blog Archive » The Hits Get Bigger
Great piece: 'With rare exception... the Long Tail primarily benefits platform holders and the creators of hit content, not the broader creative community.'

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': GMW Goes (more) International

August 30, 2009 12:00 PM |

['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.]

micromania1.jpg   micromania2.jpg

Something that's always bothered me a little is the English-centric nature of this column. I am pretty familiar with the state of print game media in the US, UK and Japan, but not much with anywhere else.

I want to fix that for two reasons: because I am a total nerd for game-mag trivia, and because most magazines in non-English-speaking countries are covering a comparatively small (or perhaps barely even legal) marketplace. In these times of contraction, when even the most successful game-media outlets are experimenting with ways to stay relevant to gamers, I think there are things to learn from these more obscure mags, eking out their little niche and thriving off it.

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