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Archive For December, 2009

MAGFest Kicks Off Tonight With New Years Eve Party

December 31, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Don't have plans yet for tonight or the rest of the holiday weekend? If you're anywhere near Alexandria, VA (several miles away from Washington, D.C.), head over to MAGFest, the four-day Music And Gaming festival. Along with its rooms dedicated to console, tabletop, LAN, and arcade games, the event promises tournaments, auctions, an indie game showcase, and several panels.

MAGFest will bring in game industry legends like Sid Meier, game culture personalities like the Angry Video Game Nerd, and twelve different bands like Metroid Metal. Several chip music performers and VJs will also provide music and entertainment: Animalstyle, Zen Albatross, Enso, No Carrier, and more.

Though the festival formally begins tomorrow, MAGFest is holding a Secret Agent-themed New Year's Eve party starting at 8PM tonight, promising performances by Jake "Virt" Kaufman, Double Ice Backfire, and others. If you haven't pre-registered, you might need a full-weekend badge to get in, but if your James Bond outfit looks super suave, maybe you can charm your way into the guest list.

Event Report: Blip Fest 2009 - Everything You Need To Know

December 31, 2009 12:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins

[We've covered New York's awesome chiptune-based Blip Fest for a few years now - here's our 2006 write-up and a 2007 mega-report (though we skipped a 2008 in-depth report.) But GSW's committed NYC correspondent Matthew Hawkins has returned with a frankly mammoth write-up on this year's fest, held earlier this month.]

Every winter for the past couple of years, New Yorkers with an ear for 8-bit music have known what to expect: the Blip Festival. Formed in 2006 by two local dudes, who also happen to be celebrated superstars in the world of the chiptunes, Bit Shifter and Nullsleep, along with a little help from their various colleagues and good friends at the net label they run, 8bitpeoples, and the local performance art space that has become the de facto HQ for NYC chipunters, The Tank, Blip Fest has been since 2006 the grand stage in which all 8-bit musicians have aspired to stand upon. Name a heavy hitter from the world of NES/Game Boy/etc music, and he or she has been a featured performer. Hence the burning question once fall began to approach... what else is left?

I first began to ask this question after hearing about Blip Fest Europe, which took place in Denmark over the summer. Myself, and others, made the almost natural assumption that the show was hitting the road; after bringing pretty much every single notable act from the world of beeps and boops to NYC, it only made sense to share the love with some other lucky city. What else needed to be done back home?

X-Men Children of the Atom Saturn Store Sample Released

December 31, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

While most companies used to send condensed or time-limited versions of their titles when giving shops sample games for their customers to try before buying, Capcom took a different approach with its Sega Saturn store samples in Japan; the publisher usually gave shops a build based on early code that sometimes had noticeable differences from the final release.

Segagaga Domain released one of those Japanese prototypes for a limited time: X-Men: Children of the Atom for Sega Saturn. This version has some neat departures from what ended up on store shelves, many of them holdovers from the arcade edition. For example, the sample features different copyright/logo screens, graphic glitches, no speed selection, and a red screen effect for special moves.

The site plans to take the download links down tomorrow, so if you're interested in having rare prototype copies of games, grab this one now while it's still available!

[Thanks, JC!]

Gaijin Games Teases Bit.Trip Runner

December 31, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Indie developer Gaijin Games shared this preview image for the next entry to its Bit.Trip WiiWare series, Bit.Trip Runner. Unlike the studio's previous music-based games like Beat, Core, Void, this one appears to have a more traditional concept, featuring series star Commander Video in what looks like a 2D platformer (which makes sense with the Runner title).

Considering Gaijin's eccentric catalog and the giant blocky fish on the monitor, maybe it's not so traditional after all! Hopefully, we'll hear more details about the game's features and release date soon -- I'm also anxious to find out what chiptune artist the developer will feature this time around, as previous Bit.Trip titles included music from performers like Nullsleep and Bit Shifter.

As for the Xbox 360 controller shown at the bottom right corner, Gaijin reassures fans that it isn't jumping to Microsoft's console for Bit.Trip Runner. No, the developer says the controller was simply left on the desk after another play session. Still, it would be interesting to see the series brought to Xbox Live Indie Games...

[Via Destructoid]

GameSetLinks: The Treasure Is The World

December 31, 2009 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[GameSetLinks is GameSetWatch's semi-regular 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 in the long road to catchup on GameSetLinks, we'll start out with Schlaghund taking a good look at Treasure World for DS, a game that is definitely worth taking a look at for its innovative gameplay concepts, despite its relatively shallow nature.

Also in this set of links - a look at seminal pre-MMO Habitat, plus some excellent IGF tips from David Edery, some fun videos from the latest Japanese version of Yakuza, and a look at Planet M.U.L.E., as well as plenty of other randomness.

He's a witch:

Toward better collections, part 3: Treasure World « schlaghund’s playground
Examining Aspyr's underappreciated, still fascinating game.

Apocalypse POW!: Videogame Cinema
'These are films that make use of readily-identifiable gaming tropes and attempt to comment, with varying degrees of success, on the omnipresence of videogames in contemporary society.'

Creatures of Habitat: A Look Back at the First MMO from 1UP.com
'What modern day MMORPGs borrowed from Lucasfilm's ahead-of-its time adventure -- and what they still could learn from it.'

Hardcore Gaming 101 - Blog: Yakuza Kenzan interviews in English
'With the recent confirmation that Yakuza 3 is coming to the west, plus continuing release of information regarding Yakuza 4, I thought now a good time to post links to Eastern Mind's translation of the Yakuza Kenzan production videos.'

Planet M.U.L.E. - First thoughts - The Gameshelf
'Last night I played a couple of games of the brand-new Planet M.U.L.E. - one with some friends over the internet, and one by myself. It is a faithful (sometimes a little too faithful) adaptation of Dani Bunten's original economic simulation from the 1980s.'

1UP's RPG Blog : Wrath of the Lich King's Grand Finale
I didn't know you can't battle the Lich King yet in the expansion of the same name, funny.

Game Tycoon » David Edery's IGF tips
A judge makes some useful comments for entrants.

Invaders! Possibly From Space! Released!

December 30, 2009 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Seven months after we originally featured the game, Shinobi has finally released Invaders! Possibly from Space!, the Space Invaders clone modeled after the epic shoot'em up battle in Futurama's "Anthology of Interest II" episode.

The free PC game is a near-perfect re-creation of the "Raiders of the Lost Arcade" scene, featuring identical enemy Nintendian ships, Rush's "Tom Sawyer" soundtrack, and even sound bites from the episode. Shinobi also added new elements not shown in the cartoon, like power-ups, bombs, and bosses (the first boss appears on level 31).

Grab it before someone (e.g. Fox, Futurama, Rush, and probably a dozen other groups) sends a cease and desist order to knock this game off the internet!

[Via Retro Remakes]

Film Posters With Video Game Titles

December 30, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Something Awful's bored but Photoshop-talented forumites worked their magic on dozens of movie posters to match the film (or at least its promotional images) with a video game title/logo. Some are obvious pairings like King Kong and Monkey Island or Twilight and Vampire: The Masquerade, but there are a few clever combinations like Last Action Hero and You're In The Movies.

As usual, I've included my favorites after the break -- the Black Knight one cracks me up way more than it should, and it's probably funnier than the actual film You can look through them all in this big Something Awful thread (Warning: Though you won't find anything too vulgar in the link, you might find some of the posters offensive).

And if you haven't yet seen Empire's similar video game/movie poster mash-ups from earlier this year, it's worth looking through just for the Dirty Dhalsim photoshop.

Opinion: 2009 - The Last Days of the Japanese RPG?

December 30, 2009 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Where have the vital Japanese role-playing games gone? Game Developer's production editor Jeff Fleming looks back at the past year of Japanese RPG releases in North America in a piece that's already been controversial on Gamasutra - claiming troubling signs of a genre in decline.]

The post-PlayStation 2 era has not been kind to the Japanese role-playing game. At the start of the decade it was easy to imagine Japanese RPGs taking over the world. Titles like Final Fantasy X and XII, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Xenosaga, Shenmue, Shadow Hearts, Skies of Arcadia, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and Phantasy Star Online were just some of the highlights of time when another new JRPG was added to the stack faster than we could play them.

But as console hardware transitioned, JRPGs began to drift into the background. Some might say that no one except the hard-core aficionado is very interested in them any more. Sure, there are a few exceptions. Final Fantasy XIII will sell like crazy. Western-developed RPGs like Dragon Age and Fallout 3 are doing very well. However, the unique style of Japanese developed RPGs is in distinct abeyance.

But what makes a Japanese RPG different and worth preserving? Beside the obvious points that they are made by Japanese people and generally have something to do with magic and dragons, they can be tricky to define in concrete terms.

Linear narrative, turn-based combat, anime-style art direction are all good points of reference. Perhaps more than any other mechanical aspect, the defining characteristic of Japanese role-playing games is their unapologetic sentimentality. Feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, and longing are the emotional currency of Japanese RPGs. Emotions that I struggle to conjure, as I look across the JRPG landscape in these last days of 2009.

Richard Garriott's Creepy Collection

December 30, 2009 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

We already know Richard "Lord British" Garriott as a game designer, astronaut, and even movie star, but apparently he's also a collector of creepy items -- really strange stuff like infant skulls, vampire bat skeletons, and a display case filled with rows of eyeballs.

UK's Bizarre Magazine and magician Simon Drake visited the multi-millionaire's house to see his collection earlier this year, publishing an interview in the magazine's 150th issue. The video above shows several of Garriott's odd pieces, including a very painful looking chastity belt with a special trap to ward off suitors.

Bizarre also uploaded photos from its visit, which you can see in this set (NSFW due to a topless vampire mannequin). I've also included some of the weird items from his collection below:

Konami Reveals MGS: Peace Walker OST

December 30, 2009 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

In other album release news, Konamistyle revealed an upcoming original soundtrack for PSP's Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Along with the game's score, the CD will include the "Heavens Divide" song featured in Peace Walker's trailers, performed by Donna Burke (excerpt embedded after the break).

The CD will ship in Japan with Peace Walker's release there on March 17th (likely appearing on online import shops shortly afterward). There's no word yet on whether Konami will bring the album to North America, though the publisher did end up including a reduced version of the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots soundtrack with that game's U.S. limited edition bundle. Fingers crossed!

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