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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 March, 2010

10-Second Gospel: Molleindustria's Run, Jesus Run

March 29, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Molleindustria, creator of fine indie products such as Oligarchy and Every Day The Same Dream, has a new browser-based game that summarizes the New Testament in 10 seconds. The developer created Run, Jesus Run as part of this month's Experimental Gameplay Project theme: games presented in 10 seconds.

In Run, Jesus Run, you sprint through an 8-bit version of the Messiah's life, jumping out the manger and ending on the cross, performing miracles (by hitting the space bar at appropriate moments) and gathering apostles along the way. Each scene includes a note on where you can read more about the miracle in the Bible.

If you don't have the time to learn all the tricks for even this very short game, Andy Baio's already posted a speedrun playthrough!

[Via Waxy.org]

GameSetNetwork: Best Of The Week

March 29, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

As we put together stories from elsewhere on the Gamasutra network, here's the top full-length features of the past week on big sister 'art and business of gaming' site Gamasutra, plus our GameCareerGuide features for the week.

There's some really neat post-GDC stuff in this update, including interviews with Final Fantasy XIII's director, Heavy Rain supremo David Cage, and a reprint of Game Developer magazine's Brutal Legend postmortem, as well as a feature on smaller Facebook game developers, a rickrollin' Game Design Challenge on GCG, and lots more.

Pay billions for this formula:

Tense Questions: David Cage On Heavy Rain
"After its release, Heavy Rain director David Cage talks to Gamasutra about the perhaps unexpected success of the title -- one that he hopes will make players think, feel, and expect different things from games."

Postmortem: Double Fine's Brutal Legend
"In this postmortem originally penned for Game Developer magazine, Double Fine Productions outlines some of the trials and tribulations that resulted in the rock god action/strategy epic Brutal Legend."

Inside the Sausage Factory: The Art of IP Development
"Ex-EA DICE man Marcus Andrews gives a peek into the IP development process, offering cultural observations and process-oriented suggestions about how to drive at finding the next big thing -- when finding the next big thing is your job."

In The Shadow Of FarmVille: How Small Studios Can Succeed In Facebook Development
"Three small Facebook game developers share stories of triumph and cautionary tales about trying to survive in a market quickly becoming dominated by companies like Zynga and Playfish."

The Mind And Heart Of Final Fantasy XIII
"Director Motomu Toriyama speaks about the controversial and unexpected gameplay design of Final Fantasy XIII, the series' audience, and the possibilities that are open to the future of what's arguably the world's most popular video game RPG saga."

GCG: Game Design Challenge: Rickroll
"Our latest challenge, which is more than a little silly, asks you to Rickroll players or characters in your game -- in essence, to play the role of the designer as trickster."

GCG: 10 Steps To Succeed as a Freshman Game Developer
"Looking for a quick guide on how to get in gear as a game developer? University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign student Chris Ridmann offers his post-freshman year tips on making progress while in school."

Opinion: The News Of Console Gaming's Death Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

March 28, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[In this editorial penned by Gamasutra news director Leigh Alexander, she suggests that "rich gaming experiences" on console won't go out of style, despite a burgeoning social game sector that often views the triple-A space as a lumbering dinosaur.]

When a large and nuanced issue is interpreted by hundreds of thousands of people at once, the result is that the nuance is often lost in favor of the simplest takeaway. Such was the case at the 2010 Game Developers' Conference, an event reports would suggest played host to the death of traditional gaming and design.

The giant-slayer, of course, was ostensibly the general concept of "Social Gaming", a phrase that encompasses a deceptively narrow vertex of products -- not just that which is literally "social", because Team Fortress 2 and World of Warcraft (those relics!) are indeed that.

When people say "Social Gaming", they mean a few things: Games played on social networks (i.e. Facebook, because who really is psyched about the viability of MySpace and Friendster anymore?).

But beyond that, the vaguely sinister phrase refers to a certain school of game design most traditionalists find depressing: One where the goal is to create not fun or meaningful engagement, but metrics; one which aims to create of its players a legion of turnkey drones.

GDC Canada Debuts Obsidian, Telltale, Dead Rising 2 Talks

March 28, 2010 8:06 AM | Simon Carless

[You may just be recovering from GDC in San Francisco, but my colleagues are putting on GDC Canada up in Vancouver in a few weeks, so if you're local and interested, now's a good time to register - new speaker info below.]

With this Wednesday's early registration deadline approaching, GDC Canada organizers have revealed talks from Obsidian, Blizzard, Telltale, and Blue Castle Games execs and creators for the May 6th-7th Vancouver event.

As well as already-announced emerging market lectures from Zynga and the Diner Dash creator, the event will also host in-depth tracks about core game elements such as game design, business and production, programming, and visual arts.

Some of the newly debuted highlights for these core GDC tracks, spotlighting some of the industry's major creators, include:

- In 'Ask The Decision Makers - Find Out What Publishers Want And How To Get What You Want', speakers including Capcom's Adam Boyes, Electronic Arts' Sinjin Bain and Activision Blizzard's Bob Loya will sit in on a panel where attendees can 'hear directly from publisher and financial representatives regarding what they want to see to release funds to a developer', as well as further advice from business development professionals.

- Telltale CEO and co-founder Dan Connors is talking on 'Evolving Episodic for a Growing Digital Audience', with the developers of the Sam & Max, Monkey Island and Wallace & Gromit episodic game series discussing "how to bring story, humor, and casual game mechanics to a broad audience of connected gamers... [and] best practices for determining price points for these experiences."

- The in-depth talk 'Using Telemetry to Improve Zombie Killing' sees Tom Niwinski and Dee Jay Randall from Dead Rising 2 developers Blue Castle Games discuss "how the Dead Rising 2 team is using in game telemetry to tune the game, tracking item usage, and ensure all the nooks and crannies have been visited."

- Obsidian Entertainment (Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas) CEO Feargus Urquhart, who launched the Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights brands while at Black Isle/Interplay, will discuss contract negotiations, "sharing strategies and advice, gleaned from over almost 15 years of experience, that is aimed at smoothing out the negotiation process - for both developers and publishers."

This year, new GDC Canada tracks will also focus on hot game industry topics including digital distribution, social games, and iPhone games. GDC Canada, presented by Reboot Communications and this website's parent the UBM Techweb Game Network, will also host evening networking events, as well as an expo hall.

More information on the 2010 GDC Canada event, including pricing specifics, lectures announced to date and registration deadlines -- the first of which is next Wednesday, March 31st -- are available on the official GDC Canada website.

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 3/27/10

March 28, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

['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.]

arcadia2010.jpg

While in New York last week I had a chance to pick up the latest edition of Arcadia, which is (if I'm not mistaken) the only print mag left in the world that's completely devoted to arcade games.

As their whimsically machine-translated English page shows, Arcadia is the spiritual successor to Gamest, a magazine launched in 1986 by a group of fanzine authors. It started as a bimonthly title, but switched to monthly after six issues and twice-a-month publication in 1994, growing along with the '90s Japanese arcade bubble and the worldwide fighting-game boom. The mag was shuttered in 1999 after the publisher went bankrupt, and the vast majority of its staff moved on to ASCII (currently Enterbrain) and founded Arcadia in late '99.

The last time I looked at an issue of Arcadia in 2008, it struck me as "not nearly as hardcore-oriented" as its pedigree would've suggested. Maybe I just caught Arcadia at a bad time. The April '10 edition, as you can see, is nearly 100% devoted to the Neo Geo's 20th anniversary, packed with info on past releases, interviews with the SNK old guard, and fond reminisces from all kinds of people in the business. The rest of the mag's pages are straight-on, totally hardcore game strategy, complete with those little tables of combo patterns and move lists that I used to identify with Gamest.

I don't think Arcadia can enjoy a very large circulation -- how else to explain a 128-page magazine selling for over ten bucks? -- but its continued presence is a testament to exactly how dedicated to their hobby arcade rats are in Japan today.

Anyway, click on to check out all the new US mags that have crossed my mailbox in the past two weeks:

Opinion: Playing God - A Call For New Universe Creation In Games

March 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[In this editorial, Game Developer magazine editor in chief Brandon Sheffield calls for developers to consider whether continuing to chase high-fidelity reality is the only valid choice for games.]

Remember when the norm for a video game was a blue hedgehog that ran fast and collected rings and emeralds? Or a plumber that took mushrooms to become large, and grabbed a flower to throw fireballs? In reality they do none of those things, but in the name of a game, they make sense, inspire wonder, and create a new universe.

This isn’t another one of those articles about the good old days, and how everything used to be better. Rather, it is an article about missed opportunity.

Time To Create

As the graphical capabilities of computers and home consoles increased over time, and as demographics skewed older, the temptation to emulate and recreate reality grew stronger and stronger. To that end, games increasingly tried to make their systems and design follow realistic constructs, boasting the most realistic cars and licenses, or the most realistic guns, or a military contractor on staff to advise on tactics.

But games are not reality. They are games.

Best Of Indie Games: Into the Mouth of Madness

March 27, 2010 12:00 AM | Tim W.

[Every week, IndieGames.com: The Weblog co-editor Tim W. will be summing up some of the top free-to-download and commercial indie games from the last seven days on his sister 'state of indie' weblog.]

This week on 'Best Of Indie Games', we take a look at some of the top independent PC Flash/downloadable titles released over this last week.

The delights in this edition include a pair of roguelikes from the 7DRL competition, a 2D platformer in the style of the early Castlevania games, a unique abstract shooter with automatic difficulty rebalancing, and a new weekly game from Nathan McCoy.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: 'The Soul of Dracula' (bunaguchi, freeware)
"The Soul of Dracula is a 2D platformer inspired by the Castlevania series, featuring appearances from mainstays such as Death and the Count himself in the role of level bosses. You play as a vampire hunter who must venture into the Dark Prince's castle and defeat him using only your whip and the familiar array of ranged weapons at your disposal."

Game Pick: 'Redivider' (Nathan McCoy, browser)
"Redivider is a Java-based arcade game with a very simple ruleset, created by Nathan as part of his weekly game release initiative. In each level you are given ten seconds to complete an objective, which could either be eliminating circles, dividing them, or a combination of the two."

Game Pick: 'Leave Home' (hermitgames, commercial indie - demo available)
"In Leave Home, the difficulty of this abstract shooter increases whenever you do well in it and scales back accordingly when you begin having problems keeping the ship in one piece. A demo that features the first level from the full game can be acquired from the official page."

Game Pick: 'Madness' (hmp, browser)
"Madness is a seven-day project that explores the theme of insanity in a roguelike very well, where players take on the role of an adventurer who has to descend ten dungeon floors and defeat the evil Dungeon Master who resides at the lowest level."

Game Pick: 'A Most Peculiar Adventure' (Ido Yehieli, browser)
"Think roguelike meet Small Worlds, and you'd have a pretty good idea of what Team Lantickall's A Most Peculiar Adventure is all about. Viewed from an overhead perspective, your quest is to find a complete set of suits, each hidden somewhere in four separate secret caverns on the area map."

Game Pick: 'Nicemetal' (Babarageo, browser)
"Nicemetal is a tower defense game with an interesting gimmick, originally created by babarageo for distribution at Comiket 76. There are a number of unmanned defensive structures in each map, and you have to send out soldiers to operate them for a short amount of time before they'd return back to base."

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of March 26

March 26, 2010 8:00 PM | Simon Carless

In our latest employment-specific round-up, we highlight some of the notable jobs posted in big sister site Gamasutra's industry-leading game jobs section this week, including opportunities at Monolith, Square Enix, Sledgehammer, 343 Industries, and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Monolith Productions, Staff Software Engineer, Engine
"As a Senior Engine generalist you will work closely with the Game Team leads and the rest of your peers on the Core Technology Team to develop state-of-the-art runtime technology for the PS3, XBOX 360 and PC. Your domain will span the entire engine and your responsibilities will include both optimizations of current-gen systems and design and implementation of pivotal new technology for the next generation of consoles."

Square Enix LA, Senior 3D Artist
"The ideal candidate has a proven trackrecord being a leader in an art team for a current generation game. The position will be spending considerable time working with outsourcing companies and freelance artists. We are looking for a very good artist with an excellent eye who is self organized and has an interest in art production and management."

Documentary Filming Indie Game Makers, Seeking Donations

March 26, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

You Meet The Nicest People Making Videogames is a new documentary examining "highly expressive videogames and the people who make them." Filmmaker La Mar Williams started the project a month ago with used equipment from a local community center, interviewing indie game developer friends and others at the recent Game Developers Conference.

He hopes to continue the project this summer by driving around the country and talking to as many independent developers as possible, eventually editing his footage into a documentary and releasing it for free over the internet.

Before he can do that, though, Williams is looking to raise $22,000 to pay for essentials, a crew, and equipment purchases -- a camera, a van, lights, microphones, and a computer for editing, all of which he'll turn over to Silicon Valley De-Bug, his local community center, afterward.

With 66 days left on his project deadline, he's already received more than $6,200 in pledges. Williams is also offering stickers, film credits, signed postcards, inclusion on an email list for the documentary (with photos fromt he road), personal calls, and an interview slot, depending on the size of your contribution.

You can watch a short video with interviews from his work on You Meet The Nicest People Making Videogames so far, which includes clips of developers Gregory Weir (The Majesty of Colors), Amon26 (All of Our Friends Are Dead), and Anna Anthropy (Redder), at the project's Kickstarter page.

DIY: GDC's WarioWare Papercraft

March 26, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

In case you missed it earlier this month, Nintendo of America gave out sheets of WarioWare D.I.Y. papercraft templates at the Game Developers Conference to promote the Nintendo DS title's release next week. It looked like an exclusive for GDC attendees for a while, but now anyone can download and print the sheet for free.

Once you cut out, fold, and put together all the pieces, you should have a miniature Wario. It's an easy crafting project that fits with WarioWare D.I.Y.'s theme: learn how to build simple WarioWare-styled microgames from scratch (or with included assets, if you prefer).

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