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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 September, 2009

Column: 'The Magic Resolution': Don't Be So Difficult

September 29, 2009 12:00 PM |

ceville1.jpg['The Magic Resolution' is a bi-weekly GameSetWatch column by UK-based writer Lewis Denby, examining all facets of the experience of playing video games. This time, Lewis is angry. He's rubbish at video games, but he still wants to enjoy them...]

So you're pointing and clicking your way through a hot new adventure game, if such a thing still exists. You're stuck at a point where a mighty evildoer has rigged the entrance to the next area with all manner of preposterous boobie traps. What do you do?

Do you go to the local arms dealer and trade him some items so he'll explain how to disarm the explosives? Do you search around for a secret door that'll allow you to bypass the traps all together? Of course not. That'd be too easy. Too sensible.

No, what you have to do is take a rubber chicken to the local grave-robber, who'll give you a skeleton in exchange. Then you'll have to break off Mr. Boney's arms and legs, grind them down into a powder to give to a voodoo sorceress, who'll make you a potion as long as you bring her three sprigs of thyme in exchange. After that, you can feed the potion to a cat, who'll immediately vomit up a map of the island on which you reside, marked with an X.

Go to the X and dig - with a magical trowel, naturally, not the ordinary one you've had in your inventory for ages - to uncover a piece of paper with detailed instruction in how to sneak by the traps undetected. Oh - as long as you dress up as a woman.

Of course.

Infocom Disk And Manual Glamor Shots For Upcoming Book

September 29, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Photographer Jennifer Lyseng recently shot a photo series of game disks and manuals from Infocom's classic adventure titles, presenting them with relevant objects (e.g. like a sword and a stone for Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur).

The images were commissioned by Rick Thornquist, who is writing a book on the history of Infocom's games. He plans to use the photos in the book and as backdrops for interviews he'll conduct with Infocom developers, which will be featured on a DVD included with the book.

You can see more of Lyseng's series below for titles like Journey and James Clavell's Shogun, with high resolution versions available on her Behance page:

Digital Eel Giving Away Strange Adventures in Infinite Space

September 29, 2009 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Indie game developer Digital Eel is giving away its strategy/adventure game Strange Adventures In Infinite Space (SAIS) for free. Originally released in 2002 for PC and Mac, SAIS was a 2003 IGF finalist and the predecessor to the studio's 2006 IGF-winning game (for Innovation in Audio) Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space.

In the seven-year-old title, players "explore a randomly created universe, meet aliens, [and] acquire artifacts in the name of scientific progress and stellar manifest destiny". Designed to be played in 20 minutes in around 5-20 minutes, SAIS features 21 ship types, 69 weapons/drives/shields/gadgets/artifacts, 18 alien lifeforms, 7 alien races, and 17 kinds of planets and star types.

Digital Eel also announced that it's posted Soup du Jour -- a physics-based match-three PC game that has you clearing colorful, bouncing candy while Kitchen Gremlins send bombs and missiles in your soup pot -- for free downloads, too.

Osu! Tatakae! Phoenix Wright (And Queen)!

September 29, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Returning to the courtroom for another, Ace Attorney star Phoenix Wright defends an Elite Beat Agent and an accused murderer. Things don't seem to go well for Wright's case as all the evidence indicates that the sunglasses-wearing defendant is the culprit, but fortunately this non-canon scenario takes place in Osu!, a homemade PC rhythm game based on the Elite Beat Agents/Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! series.

Also lucky for the lawyer and his client, Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" is playing to inspire and motivate them to successfully present their case and uncover the real killer. Watch the playthrough video to the end for the surprise twist!

[Via GoNintendo]

Opinion: Video Game Planning - Stay Frosty

September 29, 2009 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[It's a fact of game development that something will go wrong, but panic's not an inevitability. In this opinion piece, Divide By Zero's James Portnow shares tips and tactics for keeping chill under pressure.]

We’re in the business of building video games. We haven’t gotten it down to a science yet.

Be it anything from a minor bump in the road -- such as when one of the engineers creeps into your office with his head down and mumbles, "Remember that thing we thought the animation system did? Well, it doesn’t do that" -- to the more major hurdles, like the 9am call from Mr. _____’s administrative assistant to let you know that "Due to present financial realities, we have regrettably been forced to cut your funding," the unexpected will happen. The only question is: how will you deal with it?

Panic!

We’ve all heard the old platitude about "prepare for the unexpected." But you know what? Sometimes something will come up that you simply didn’t prepare for. When that happens, you have two options: Panic, or don't.

Cyborg Ninja Spotted At TGS

September 28, 2009 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

All of the major gaming news sites have galleries up of cosplayers from last week's Tokyo Game Show, but I just wanted to feature one outfit from the expo that amazed me, this Cyborg Ninja from the Metal Gear Solid series.

Almost all of the photos I've come across of the costume are striking. Chalk it up to the talents of the photographers, the subject's bright blue contact lenses (I'm not certain if that's a man or a woman in the outfit, but I'm leaning towards woman), and the contrast of the hard white plastic helmet on the blue padded suit. More photos after the break!

Undead Knights Crawls Out Of Grave With New Trailer, Demo

September 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Undead Knights hits U.S. stores this week and Japan in mid-October, but for some reason Tecmo released a new trailer and demo today for the latter territory. It's not that serious an issue, though, as you can still enjoy both without knowing a word of Japanese. In fact, the video above is probably funnier hearing the Japanese voiceover guy saying "zommmmmbie" and singing, "Zombie bridge is falling down."

You can download the PSP demo -- which has you fighting armies, turning soldiers into your undead minions, and commanding them against your enemies -- from Undead Knights' Japanese site.

[Via PSP Hyper]

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': The Most Maximum Seven Issues Ever Published

September 28, 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.]

maximum1.jpg   maximum7.jpg

It's a busy time in my life, with freelance duties dive-bombing me from all directions and me hardly having a chance to enjoy the unseasonably cool weather at all. Sometimes -- like all writers, I suppose -- I wonder if my work is worth it, if anyone's really reading the things I work on, if I could be typing "asdfjkl ovfo w4oivn" all day on the keyboard and accomplish the same effect.

At times like this, I comfort myself by saying "Don't worry, Kevin Gifford. Even if nobody cares now, even if you become penniless and wind up in the gutter burning copies of Game Player's Strategy Guide to Nintendo Games to keep warm, someone might appreciate it all afterwards. Just look at Maximum."

Maximum, published by UK outfit Emap from 1995 to 1996, is very much a product of its time. During this volatile period, when games were shifting from 2D to 3D and companies were flying in and out of the industry at lightspeed, Emap was still competing on pretty even terms with Future Publishing, snagging official licenses from Nintendo and Sega and raking in massive profits from both titles. They were also publishing Computer & Video Games, the oldest multiplatform mag in existence, which had a long history but was experiencing a major sales lull in the mid-90s, dipping down to 15,000 copies sold per month at the worst.

T2: The Miniature Arcade Game

September 28, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Justin Whitlock already has a bit of web popularity for his G.I. Joe-sized arcade machines of classic games like Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga, but his latest posted project shows that he's eager to advance his abilities in this tiny field. This Terminator 2: Judgment Day machine features two mounted guns, t-molding, and a plexiglass screen (which shows a shot of the game).

Whitlock spent around 12 hours (with breaks) creating this machine and used the toy uzis from the 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe Iron Grenadier for the guns. Because of its unique parts, he's selling the machine at a more expensive price than usual, $38.00. You can see more photos and a video tour of the game below:

Tim Schafer's Lucasfilm Cover Letter Adventure

September 28, 2009 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Celebrating 20 years of working in the video games industry, Double Fine CEO and LucasArts vet Tim Schafer posted several documents from his time with the sector, including rejection letters from Atari and Hewlett-Packard (he hoped to follow in the footsteps of novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who toiled away at General Electric during the day, and wrote short stories at night).

Schafer eventually stumbled upon an "Assistant Designer / Programmer" job posting for Lucasfilm's Games Division and put in a disastrous call for the position -- after raving about Ball Blaster, his favorite Lucasfilm release at the time, the company's interviewer pointed out that Ball Blaster was the pirated version of the game and that Ball Blazer was the real title.

Fortunately, the interviewer invited the young game designer to send in a resume, and thinking he'd ruined any chance of getting the job, Schafer sent in this graphic adventure-style cover letter printed from an Atari 800 dot-matrix printer:

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