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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 October, 2009

GameSetLinks: The Neil Dare Phantom

October 30, 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 to blast out the GameSetLinks as the weekend rapidly approaches, this set includes the continuation of the Phantom of Akihabara fiction, translated by Kevin Gifford from a Japanese game magazine, and another reminder that there is still very little good fiction which includes video games as an integral part of it. I wonder why?

Nonetheless, other things in here include Legend Of Neil worship by Lev Grossman, Robert Ashley interviewed, the local alt.weekly on Tim Schafer's new game, indie interviews, miniature reviews, and more besides.

Go go gone:

Sandeep Parikh (You Know, the Guy Who Does Legend of Neil, With Which I’m Obsessed): The Nerd World Interview - Nerd World - TIME.com
Legend Of Neil seems to be terribly divisive as a game-related web parody series. Lev at Time loves it, though!

Beacon game review | Necessary Games
A nicely nuanced look at the latest Ludum Dare winner.

Mike Darga's Game Design Blog: Designing Your Audience
'Aside from bugs and generally shoddy development, the biggest cause of /ragequits is developers and players not agreeing on what the game is supposed to be.'

“The Phantom of Akihabara,” Chapter 7: “A Well-Adjusted World” @ Magweasel
I am still madly in love with this - it's just beautifully written and translated.

Press Pass: Wasting Time With Robert Ashley of "A Life Well Wasted" > Kyle Orland > 9/24/2009 5:00 PM | Crispy Gamer
'We talk with the former Ziff Davis freelancer about his unique podcast and what it says about the direction of game journalism.'

Intuition Games » Blog Archive » Here’s my problem with Fun.
'Sure reviewers will throw in ratings for graphics and music, but that’s mostly naive. Their response to the game directly hinges on if the total package was entertaining.'

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Brütal odyssey
Schafer gets profiled by the local alt.weekly, always nice to see a different perspective.

Indie Interview – Chris Walley of Escapist Games | indievision
Interesting that he's concentrating on XBLIG - but the Blitz to XNA semi-converter is a great idea.

Love In The Time Of Asteroids

October 29, 2009 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Ever since Universal picked up the rights to develop a full-length film based on Asteroids, I've kept an eye out for examples of anyone attaching a plot to the simple, vector-based game, like the hilarious Asteroids radio drama that Kid Stuff recorded in the early 80s.

Nigel Upchurch's music video above, set to The Juan MacLean's "No Time", is a more modern interpretation of of the arcade title, following the adventures of a wandering ship as it searches for a like-minded, triangle-shaped ship, finds its soulmate, and starts a family. It's an Asteroids love story!

I also recently came across this excellent fanmade poster for the hypothetical Asteroids film, designed by Maxellito. The text, "Alone into the ship triangle to cross the universe", doesn't really make sense, but neither does an Asteroids movie!

T-Rexes And Dance Parties: Tomena Sanner

October 29, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

I don't usually pay attention to strange-sounding WiiWare games that I've never heard of, especially when they're mobile ports, but after hearing my friend describe Konami's Tomena Sanner as "like Canabalt but with more dancing", I knew this title required a thorough investigation.

Tomena Sanner's primary parallel to Canabalt is it's a single-button action game in which you guide a running character, businessman Hitoshi Susumu. In addition to controlling his jumps, that button is used for attacks, upending cars, dunking basketballs, bowing toward a jogging group of Shaolin monks, and more.

Susumu races through nine levels, hopping over T-Rexes and swinging around trees while trying to show up on time to "the ultimate dance party". The esoteric game features a four-player versus mode, an endless level mode, a turbo mode, and online rankings.

Konami will release Tomena Sanner stateside in the first quarter of 2010. You can see screenshots and find more information for the quirky title on Konami's official site.

Sound Current: 'The Music in Machinarium - Floex's Organic Audio Artifice'

October 29, 2009 12:00 PM | jeriaska

[Continuing his 'Sound Current' audio interviews series for GameSetWatch, Jeriaska catches up with the musician behind much-awaited IGF-winning Eastern European independent adventure game Machinarium, discussing the creation of the soundtrack to the just-debuted game.]

The Czech musician Tomas Dvorak, who also goes by Floex, is the composer of Amanita Design's new game, Machinarium. Previously he composed for Samorost 2 and used audio from the game in the creation of an award-winning original soundtrack album.

Machinarium is an adventure story surrounding a world of robots. The environments are dusty, organic, analog. The music too mirrors the duality of the art design, composed of elements both acoustic and synthetic, like an upright piano playing as a voice synthesizer belts out the melody of an old fashioned operetta.

In this interview with the composer for the game, Floex tells about his background as a visual artist who has found his way into the world of music for films and games. The discussion offers a glimpse into the surreal and mysterious creations of Amanita Design, and more specifically, serves as a guide to the unedited six track soundtrack preview, which is freely available online.

Insomniac Gives Out Custom R&C Vinyl Toys To Employees

October 29, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

As a gift to its toiling employees who've just completed and shipped out Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time for PS3, Insomnia Games commissioned a set of custom Ratchet, Clank, and Qwark vinyl toys. To give you an idea of their sizes, the Qwark figure is a massive 15 inches wide!

Design house CreatureBox concepted and digitally sculpted the toys, while three-dimensional model company Gentle Giant produced the physical figures. Unfortunately, CreatureBox says it's unsure if it will ever release the set to the public. At least we can enjoy these photos (and hope for a greedy Insomniac employee to anonymously auction off the toys on eBay)!

Point And Click: Trauma

October 29, 2009 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Designed for a "mature audience", Trauma explores the dreams of a young woman who was injured in a car accident and is recovering in a hospital. Players learn about the woman's identity and how she's dealing with the loss of her parents through her different dreams. The point and click adventure game presents a series of photographs that players can zoom in, pan around, and investigate with different mouse gestures.

Developer Krystian Majewski, currently a student at Köln International School of Design, describes Trauma: "It builds upon this established formula by introducing a gesture-based interface, real-time 3D technology for dynamic level layouts, unique photographic visuals and a level design philosophy that focuses on creating a rich experience rather than an elaborate puzzle challenge."

Majewski hopes to make the Flash game available online for free before the end of 2009. You can read more about Trauma and sign-up for newsletter updates here.

Zeit²: New Trailer For Time-Traveling Shoot'em Up

October 29, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Berlin-based developer Brightside Games released a new trailer for its IGF 2009 Student Finalist project Zeit². Billed as a shoot'em up with time travel elements (think Retro/Grade, except not in reverse and without the rhythm elements), Zeit² allows you to speed up your progression through stages or jump back in time to shoot alongside yourself.

Since the IGF 2009 build, Brightside has improved the horizontal shooter's graphics and added a "new special weapons system." The studio also promises six game modes (Arcade, ChapterScore Attack, Survival, Wave, Time, and Tactics), more than a dozen enemy types, and 10 bosses.

You can read more about Zeit² at Brightside's official site.

GameSetLinks: The Performance Of A Lifetime

October 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.]

What's this back here? Oh, some more links, that'll be it. This time, we start out with Stanford's Cabrinety Collection, which is still rooting around in its awesome game archives and scanning some of the most notable boxes and ephemera, this time settling on Avalon Hill video game nirvana.

Also in this set of links - Kiri Miller on the shared Rock Band experience, an interesting discussion on indie game pricing, the Tale Of Tales folks sit down with AreaCode's Frank Lantz, the people behind the Dingoo handheld chat about it, and more besides.

Duck duck goose:

An Abundance of Avalon-Hill | How They Got Game
'Today's focus is the cover art of Avalon-Hill's Microcomputer Games Division, though I promise the art and games are more intriguing than their publisher's bland name.'

A Day with the Score-Oriented: Rock Band Tournament Play Kiri Miller / Brown University |
'After a while, something about this cacophonous hotel conference room filled with fidgety teens playing plastic instruments began to feel very familiar to me. I realized that it reminded me of my All-State clarinet auditions in junior high and high school.'

The Perma-death interview. « Groping The Elephant
'Australian blogger Ben Abraham has been gaining attention for his decision to partake in an “iron man” play through of Far Cry 2, no reloading when his character dies the game is over.' Interview!

Games Aren't Numberss: A Defense of Indie Prices
'We consider a high price tag on an indie game as overpriced because it is overpriced. It's overpriced on a big budget game as well, but the publishers' marketing departments have ways of making us forget about that.'

'Randomness: Blight or Bane?' - Play This Thing!
Greg Costikyan's excellent GDC Austin talk, in text form.

Interview: Justin Barwick of Dingoo | Bytejacker
It's a bit of an emulation piracy-fest, this handheld, but interesting chat anyhow.

Tale of Tales » Interview with Frank Lantz
'We were pleasantly surprised by Frank Lantz’s brief presentation at the last GDC. Especially because we found ourselves agreeing with somebody who was saying the exact opposite of what we are always going on about.' Hurray!

Defcon :: View topic - PAX 2009
Very old, but just noting it because I mentioned in my Australian talk on indie games recently that Introversion's 'Last Of The Bedroom Programmers' tagline wasn't completely appropriate for them any more, and here they mention that they're retiring it, heh.

New Shoot'em Up Released For Atari Lynx

October 28, 2009 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

More than twenty years after the handheld was originally launched, the Atari Lynx is receiving a new and original title, Zaku, thanks to publisher Super Fighter Team, the same saints that recently localized and released Beggar Prince and Legend of Wukong for the Genesis/Mega Drive.

Developed by PenguiNet (using an official Lynx development kit), Zaku is an Air Zonk-inspired horizontal-scrolling shoot'em up filled with giant sprites of flying toasters and penguin-piloted crafts for you to blast out of the sky. The game runs at 60 frames per second and features 16 stages, multiple difficulty modes, and more than 20 music tracks.

Super Fighter Team claims that Zaku's game card is the first to be produced in "the authentic manufacturing style used by Atari while the Lynx was on the market" (not counting official game cards, of course). Recent Lynx fan-releases typically come on an exposed circuit board.

Zaku is priced at around $48-52 after shipping and handling, and each order includes the game card, a full-color, 31-page English and French instruction manual, and a cardstock game box with a slot to hold the game card. You can see screenshots of the game and place an order at Zaku's official site.

Skullpogo Bounces Onto App Store

October 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

If you're looking for a simple, cheap, and fun game to get you in the Halloween mood, try out Skullpogo, a new iPhone/iPod Touch release from Chevy Johnston (Beacon) and Justin Smith (Enviro-Bear).

This was actually released as a downloadable PC title last year, but the concept of bouncing off pigs, zombies, and bats was "remade and souped up" for the App Store debut, adding tilt controls, new power-ups and enemies, online high scores, and more.

Johnston describes Skullpogo as "the ultimate coffee-break game":

"It is all about the gameplay, and thus offers no cinematics, no flashy cutscenes, no RPG elements, and no lengthy loading screens. When they've got 100 Apps on their iPhone, I want people to choose Skullpogo because it's: 1) Quick to start up. One-press and you're playing! 2) Fun in premise, easy to play, yet skillful to master. And 3) I can't think of an excuse not to want to battle hordes of the undead with nothing but a pogo stick."

You can grab Skullpogo from the App Store now for $1.99.

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