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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

Shin Akuma Has LED Eyes, Knows What You're Thinking

September 24, 2009 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

If you've ever wanted to wake up in the middle of the night and feel a jolt of terror grip at your racing heart after seeing a sinister pair of red eyes staring back at you from a far, dark corner in your bedroom, SOTA Toys has a figurine that will help you realize that nightmare.

The toy company will release this 12" Shin Akuma polyresin statue exclusively through Slideshow Collectibles later this year. It looks a lot like the standard Akuma figure SOTA also plans to release, except with white hair, darker skin, a darker gi, a different symbol on his back, and battery-powered LED eyes -- according to Capcom, it looks like the eyes follow you when you move side to side.

And If the thought of Akuma waking you up to unleash his Shin Shun Goku Satsu super on your face isn't scary enough, perhaps the price will dissuade you from picking one up -- $139.99! I suppose that cost justifies all the detail SOTA is putting into the toy; check out those disgusting toenails!

Square Enix, PopCap Team Up For XBLA/PC Puzzle RPG

September 24, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Square Enix, better known for its epic RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest (though it did work on puzzler Yosumin), announced a surprising collaboration with casual game studio PopCap for what looks like a more polished Puzzle Quest clone, releasing for Xbox Live Arcade and PC.

In Gyromancer, you line up three or more gems on a puzzle grid by rotating a square of pieces, similar to Bejeweled Twist. Clearing pieces enables you to execute attacks and cast spells against enemy creatures. The puzzle/RPG hybrid includes ten game stages, more than 50 summonable beasts, and an online ranking system.

The plot is kind of wackadoodle:

"Rivel, leader of the rebel faction Temperance and sorcerer vessel of the Godseye, follows Qraist, the countslayer, into the enchanted Aldemona Wood. The wood whispers to the two. For Rivel, the wood holds the key to his locked memories. For Qraist, the wood holds his calling - to be its master.

Unbeknownst to either, the nefarious Everett watches quietly from the shadows. Within this enchanted wood, severed from the outside world by ritual, lie mysteries and answers, knowledge and wonder. Each enters in search of something - but what is it they will find?"

Sound Current: 'Christopher Tin - From Civilization IV to Calling All Dawns'

September 24, 2009 12:00 AM | jeriaska

[Continuing his 'Sound Current' series talk to notable game audio creators, Jeriaska sits down with Civilization IV soundtrack co-composer Christopher Tin on his new album, inspired by one of the signature Civ IV songs.]

Musician Christopher Tin made his debut as a game composer with the tracks "Baba Yetu" and "Coronation" for the 2004 strategy title Civilization IV. His contributions to the score earned him two awards from the Game Audio Network Guild, for Best Original Vocal Song and Rookie of the Year.

Music from Civ IV has graced the stage numerous times as part of the Video Games Live concert series, allowing for "Baba Yetu" to be performed around the world. On October 1st the composer is publishing an album of music inspired by the piece.

Called "Calling All Dawns," the collection assembles twelve songs in twelve languages, including a brand new rendition of the celebrated videogame vocal theme. The album represents the culmination of an artist's personal interpretation of a computer software series that has inspired him since his youth.

In this interview coinciding with the release of "Calling All Dawns," Christopher Tin describes being a part of the VGL concert series. The discussion offers a personal perspective on the position of game soundtracks as an art form with international appeal.

Konami, Sinister Pointe Build Silent Hill Haunted Attraction

September 23, 2009 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Konami and Sinister Pointe, the haunted attractions company behind last year's Saw haunted house, announced a Silent Hill-themed labyrinth opening at Sinister Pointe in Orange County, California

Inspired by the survival horror game series and the films, the Silent Hill maze is set in a vacant movie theater sized at over 10,000 square feet -- that's a lot of room for people to hide around and jump out of corners to scare you! If the attraction has faceless nurses that are even half as scary as the cosplay we featured last May, this thing is too scary for me.

The haunted house will run from October 2nd to October 31st (with a special media and public preview this Friday), and will herald the November 2nd release of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Konami's Wii remake of the first Silent Hill PlayStation 1 game.

Apparently, someone heard about the attraction's upcoming opening and broke into the labyrinth last night to get an early peek. You can watch a video from the trespassing adventure below:

The Excavation Of Mushroom Island

September 23, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

“What if there was physical proof that the Super Mario Bros mythology existed a long time ago on a lost chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean? Would you believe this fictional universe once existed if there was tangible evidence to prove it did?"

The Excavation of Mushroom Island is a new self-published book that asks those questions while chronicling the findings of author and archaeologist Logan Zawacki as his team explores Mushroom Island, the once-thought fabled land that served as the basis for so many Super Mario Bros. myths.

Offering up 76 informative pages covering the author's discoveries, "The Excavation of Mushroom Island" includes "a detailed chronology of the cultures that inhabited the islands between the Arcadic Period and the Early Snesolithic Period". It also features marked maps and profiles for over 30 documented fossils.

You can purchase softcover copies of the book at Blurb.com for $50. Zawacki is also selling limited edition hardcover copies of "The Excavation of Mushroom Island" (100, signed and numbered).

[Via Albotas]

Analysis: Game AI & Our Cheatin’ Hearts

September 23, 2009 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[In this design analysis, first published in the May 2009 issue of Game Developer magazine, Maxis designer Soren Johnson (Spore, Civilization IV) addresses the careful balance between smart AI and player perception that the game is cheating.]

The designers of Puzzle Quest have a frustrating burden to bear – everyone thinks they are a bunch of dirty cheaters. The game centers on a competitive version of Bejeweled, in which players duel with an AI to create the most “match-3” colored patterns.

The problem comes from how the pieces on the gameboard are created - when, for example, a column of three green orbs is lined up and removed from play, new pieces fall in to take their place. However, sometimes, these three new pieces happen to be of all the same type, which means that a new match is automatically made, and the player scores again.

The odds of such a result are low (around 2% for getting three of the same colors in a row), but they are still high enough that a player will see it many times with enough games played.

Best of FingerGaming: From Dexter to geoDefense Swarm

September 23, 2009 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Every week, Gamasutra sums up sister iPhone site FingerGaming's top news and reviews for Apple's nascent portable games platform -- this time covering Dexter, geoDefense Swarm, and Hybrid: Eternal Whisper.]

This week, FingerGaming covers the remade arcade classic BurgerTime Deluxe, TV drama adaptation Dexter: The Game, and the action-RPG Hybrid: Eternal Whisper.

Here are the top stories from the last seven days:

- Serial Killer Sim Dexter: The Game Debuts in App Store
"The Showtime television drama Dexter has made its video game debut, premiering in the iTunes App Store. Dexter: The Game adapts the series to the iPhone with a mix of investigative gameplay and stealth-action sequences."

- Prope Brings Let's Tap: Tap Runner to iPhone
"In Prope's iPhone adaptation of the Nintendo Wii minigame Let's Tap: Tap Runner, players must place the iPhone on top of a cardboard box and tap the box softly and rapidly to run. Harder taps will make the player's character jump."

M. Bison, Psycho Instructor

September 23, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Filipino artist Chad Manzo posted a few "copy-less posters" from his portfolio working with music production unit Sonic Boom, including this art of M. Bison playing the part of a severe instructor to his minions -- it looks like he just rapped the knuckles of his Shadaloo students. Why else did you think Sagat had bandages all over his hands?

On a kind of related note, I went to school in the Philippines for a year (second grade), and the teachers there were no joke. One particular instructor, a nun, had a favorite punishment -- she would make troublemakers kneel in front of the class, hold their arms out with their palms facing up, and place heavy books on top of their palms to hold up for the rest of the class. Crazy!

But I digress. I've included more of Manzo's video game-inspired posters, like Mario imagining his Princess cheating on him with his arch-enemy (Didn't Peach actually sort of marry Bowser in Super Paper Mario?), below. You can also see more of his work on the artist's portfolio site.

Backup Your Files Before Playing Lose/Lose

September 23, 2009 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Billed as "a video game with real life consequences", Lose/Lose is a simple vertical-scrolling shoot'em up with a twist -- each alien appearing on your screen represents a random file on your computer. Thus, each time you kill an alien, the game will delete that sprite's associated file. If the aliens manage to destroy your ship, the Lose/Lose application is deleted. Wacky and dangerous!

Developer Zach Gage calls attention to the fact that the aliens don't actually fire back at you, calling into question what your mission is in the game. Are you defending your planet? Terrorizing a pacifist alien race? Just killing whatever comes up on your screen for fun?

"Why do we assume that because we are given a weapon an awarded for using it, that doing so is right?" asks Gage. "By way of exploring what it means to kill in a video-game, Lose/Lose broaches bigger questions. As technology grows, our understanding of it diminishes, yet, at the same time, it becomes increasingly important in our lives."

"At what point does our virtual data become as important to us as physical possessions? If we have reached that point already, what real objects do we value less than our data? What implications does trusting something so important to something we understand so poorly have?"

You can download Lose/Lose and see the game's highscores at Gage's site. You can also watch a trailer for the game below, and enjoy watching aliens shot down without having to worry about losing valuable documents.

Japan Tries Out Project Natal

September 23, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though the Xbox 360 isn't nearly as popular in Japan as it is in other territories, that didn't stop Microsoft from bringing Project Natal, its gesture/voice-based peripheral for the console, to this week's Tokyo Game Show.

Here, Microsoft director Kudo Tsunoda and his oversized sunglasses show off a couple Project Natal demos (starting around the 02:10 mark), Ricochet and Burnout Paradise, for a local news show. There seems to be a little lag between the player's and the on-screen character's movement in the Ricochet demonstration, but the Burnout Paradise problems look like oversteering issues on the player's part.

Even if you don't watch the entire video, make sure to at least check out the brief hilarious bit around 03:35 when Tsunoda slowly claps with the Japanese host, cheering, "Yes, very good for you. I'm so happy," before turning to flash us a cheesy smile and give us a thumbs up.

[Via kpop100]

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