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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 June, 2010

2011 IGF Opens Submissions, Adds Mobile Category, Expands Experimental Focus

June 28, 2010 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

igf2011.jpg The UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizer of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference events, is pleased to announce that submissions are now open for the 2011 Independent Games Festival -- to be held at GDC 2011 in San Francisco next March.

The longest-running and highest-profile independent video game festival, summit and showcase is now accepting entries to the 13th annual Festival, with deadlines in the Main and Student Showcase categories by October 18th and November 1st respectively, and finalists to be announced on January 2011.

All games selected as finalists will be available in playable form at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor, and will compete for nearly $50,000 in prizes, including the Nuovo Award, Excellence in Design, Art, Best Student Game, the Audience Award and the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Winners will be announced on stage at the high-profile Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Made Of America: Stetson Creates Custom Ken Masters Cowboy Hats

June 28, 2010 7:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Inspired by Ken Masters' alternate "cowboy" outfit in Super Street Fighter IV, hat company Stetson created a headpiece based on the video game character's in-game models (pictured). The cowboy hat features a hand-made leather hat band and the inscription "Made by Stetson especially for Ken Masters".

Stetson only made three of the hats -- two of which are already taken by Capcom's producer Yoshinori Ono and senior community manager Seth Killian -- and Street Fighter fans will be able to win one of them at EVO 2010 in Las Vegas next month.

To win the cowboy hat, Ken fans will need to play as the dragon punching fighter in his "Cowboy Ken" outfit for the entire Super Street Fighter IV tournament. The top-finishing Ken player to do so will take home the hat and all the manliness that comes with it!

Disney's Adventurers Club Recreated In Garry's Mod

June 28, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though the real Adventurers Club -- Walt Disney World Resort's themed nightclub set during New Years Eve in 1937 -- was closed to the public in September 2008, you can still explore and experience a virtual version of it thanks to a new Garry’s Mod release from modder Breben.

Breben spent around 730 hours in the past 15 months trying to create an accurate model of the former Walt Disney World attraction, complete with interactive props and audio recorded at the actual Adventurers Club. He used a variety of media and reference material, especially photos Adventurers Club visitors posted on Flickr.

The modder says he created this virtual replica with "the hope that someone (wealthy) will someday be able to use my video to build their very own Adventurers Club to the exact same specifications as the original one." He admits, "[It's] a far-fetched dream, but you never know…"

[Via Boing Boing, Inside The Magic]

GameSetNetwork: Best Of The Week

June 28, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Rounding up the feature-length stories from 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 the new GameCareerGuide pieces that debuted last week.

Some genuinely neat stuff in here - including chats with the folks behind Deadly Premonition and Halo: Reach, plus an interview with Activision's chief operating officer, a fun new Game Design Challenge, a look at outsourcing in today's market, and much more.

Cha cha cha:

Halo: Reach - The Beta Story
"Bungie's Jarrard and Carney discuss Halo: Reach's extensive beta, the evolving multiplayer landscape, and learning from the community while still driving the series' evolution."

Reward Systems, An Excerpt From Level Design: Concept, Theory, and Practice
"Presenting an excerpt from Eufloria co-creator Rudolf Kremers' 'Level Design: Concept, Theory, and Practice' -- from escapism to simulation, reward systems and structures."

Activision: Business Is Good, And Getting Better
"This extensive interview with Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl covers the current state of the company's business and its prospects for the future -- taking in how decisions are made and how franchises can be expanded and preserved."

Ancel Keeping Beyond Good & Evil 2 Team Small To 'Preserve Creativity'

June 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

After a turbulent development history that has involved possibly being canceled and uncanceled multiple times, a sequel to the 2003 cult favorite action-adventure game Beyond Good & Evil is publicly in the works, but series creator Michel Ancel says the game will "take time" because he is deliberately keeping the team size small to "preserve creativity."

"On this game, we're keeping the team small, to preserve creativity and so the game doesn't become a commercial product, so that is has soul," Ubisoft designer Ancel said this week, according to a Eurogamer translation of comments made in French at the Montpellier in Game conference.

Last week at E3, Ubisoft announced the development of Rayman: Origins, the latest 2D game in the Ancel-originated platforming series.

It is being developed by a team of only five, using tools intended to reduce the number of technical hurdles between artists and game development. The team plans to eventually release those tools to the public.

Ancel indicated that the Beyond Good & Evil 2 team is using similar tools for its own game. "It takes a bit longer," he admitted, "but we're very keen to use this system with this game, because it's an ambitious game and we want to create something exceptional." Some reports have indicated that the designer, like the Rayman: Origins team, hopes to release those tools to the public.

Beyond Good & Evil was originally released for PC, PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox. Although it was not a major commercial success, it received a positive critical reception and generated a passionate fan base.

In the seven years since its release, Ancel has frequently expressed his desire to return to the game's universe. In 2008, a teaser trailer for a sequel surfaced, but Ubisoft later claimed it was merely a concept video, and was not confirmation of a new game.

In-Depth: Xbox's Penello On Kinect's Biggest Challenges

June 27, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Xbox director of platform marketing Albert Penello talks to our own Kris Graft, post-E3, about the Xbox 360 motrion control device Kinect's biggest question marks -- from market fragmentation to pricing and third-party publisher support.]

Last week's E3 reveal of the motion-sensing Kinect and new Xbox 360 was a preemptive strike on a potential mid-life crisis for the console. Microsoft wants to expand beyond its core gamer audience and attract a wider demographic by trying to lower the barriers of modern gaming.

Albert Penello, director of platform marketing for Xbox, knows that the road ahead won't be easy, but is confident that once skeptical core gamers get their hands on (off?) the Kinect, they will be convinced.

But attracting current and potential Xbox 360 gamers to the motion control market will be a difficult proposition. The price has to be appealing to the target mass market, the third-party developer support has to be there and market fragmentation between traditional controllers and Kinect must be addressed.

All of these factors are currently big question marks. In this in-depth interview with us, Penello makes his case for the Xbox 360 strategy a week after having digested the major L.A. conference:

Interview: Krome's Steve Stamatiadis On Following His Retro Dreams

June 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Krome Studios co-founder Steve Stamatiadis talks to our own Christian Nutt about his classic-influenced, Atari-published 2D XBLA and PSN title Blade Kitten, and shares thoughts on the state of the current generation. ]

Steve Stamatiadis, creative director and co-founder of Australia's biggest game developer Krome Studios, is finally once again getting to make an original IP after years of working on licensed IP -- and it's based on his love of classic 2D games.

The new title from the Brisbane-headquartered Ty The Tasmanian Tiger and Xbox Live Arcade Game Room developers, named Blade Kitten, is to be published by Atari this September for the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network, the Xbox 360's Live Arcade, and the PC.

The game hearkens back to old games, but Stamatiadis sees it as his chance to create a game that's as good as his memories of classic games: "Let's take it the way I remembered it, and make that the way it should be."

With a lot of attention paid to gameplay details and responsiveness, Stamatiadis speaks here about not just the game's long gestation, but also the thinking and influences that have gone into this classic-tinged title. He also charts his hopes and expectations for the current console generation, as co-founder of a large independent studio.

People often associate downloadable games with something smaller or simpler, but this feels larger-scale to me -- can you talk about that?

Steve Stamatiadis: That's sort of us going over the top because we could. I mean, one of the things we've done to Krome, [CEO] Rob Walsh and myself, we always put a bit of our own money into the games we do. Yeah, we try and make them better because you've always got a limited time with publishers.

You've got a certain amount of time to do stuff, so it's like, "Oh, well you know, let's put a few extra guys on it so we can try and make it better." And sometimes that's worked for the game. But we thought, "Look, we've done that outsource stuff long enough; let's do our own IP, and let's put the sort of money into it that we usually shove into doing other stuff.

Best Of Indie Games: What a Tangled Web We Weave

June 26, 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 goodies in this edition include a Twitter-based strategy game, a pirate-themed RPG, a life simulation game, a new arena shooter from the developer of VVVVVV, an addictive browser-based puzzler, and a short 2D adventure game made with the AGS engine.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: 'DotWar' (Ono Masaki, browser)
"DotWar is a Twitter-based battler which pits your avatar against your friends. Simply enter two names and watch their respectives profile pictures turn into lots of little soldiers and storm each other. There are crystals on each side of the playing field, and if your guys manage to destroy all three of your opponent's crystals, you win. It's pretty interesting to experiment with, as different avatars will produce different troops."

Game Pick: 'Dubloon' (Banov, freeware)
" In Dubloon, you play as a pirate who stumbles upon an incredible treasure, and puts together a crew to make the treasure his own. The game plays out in classic RPG style - there's a world to explore with items to collect. Happen upon an enemy wandering about, and you'll be transported to a turn-based attack-a-thon, with stats et al. Definitely worth checking out for the RPG lovers among you."

Game Pick: 'memrrtiks, suashem' (Terry Cavanagh, browser)
"memrrtiks, suashem is a score-based shooter that plays rather similarly to Terry's other game, Bullet Time. The objective here is to survive for as long as you can while shooting at ghost-like enemies for points. Enemies will spawn all across the screen, but you'll be notified of where they will appear by either hollow black squares that point at their next location or warning texts that flash when an entire wave of ghosts are about to fill the entire area."

Game Pick: 'Entanglement' (Gopherwood Studios, browser)
"Entanglement is a great little puzzler involving hexagons and lots of twisty paths. An orange line leads out of the centre piece, and your job is to create a path from there that goes for as long as possible without hitting a wall. There are some lovely local multiplayer options too, with games available for up to six players. A lovely, addictive time-waster, this one."

Game Pick: 'Rein' (Darius Poyer, freeware)
"Rein is a short 2D adventure game made by Darius Poyer using the AGS engine in under two weeks, where you play as one of the staff involved in a secret bioengineering project inside a research facility named Fraxto 21. At the start of the story the entire building is already collapsing all around you, so you must make haste and try to escape from the place in one piece."

Game Pick: 'Unnatural Selection' (David Shute, browser)
"Unnatural Selection is a puzzle-based life simulation game that features slimy creatures to experiment with, where your assigned objective is to figure what type of stimuli will mutate them into species that you have not discovered yet. There are sixteen evolution branches to find in total, with some requiring the player to feed or starve a creature until it achieves a new form."

Sim Racing Champ Wins Real-World Race

June 25, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

21-year-old Wyatt Gooden, a kart-racing veteran but a newcomer to the full-sized racecar scene, picked up his first professional auto racing victory at Mid-Ohio's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Race (Round 5) -- a win he credited to his experience with online, subscription-based racing sim iRacing.com.

Gooden participated in iRacing.com's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup online racing series last year, winning the series to become eligible for the real-world version's selection process. He passed the three-day selection trials, and because of his performance in the online competition, he received a sponsorship for his fees in this season's ten real-world races.

Before Gooden ever sat in a racecar, he put in "countless hours" practicing on iRacing.com's simulation of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup car on the tracks that host seven of the ten races on the real-world series' 2010 schedule. Though he had experience with racing karts at a national level, he says iRacing.com was key in helping him adapt to driving a full-sized racer.

"This is a remarkable accomplishment, really a big deal," says iRacing.com EVP Steve Myers. "It's the first time that someone with no previous experience in racing cars has gone from an online racing competition to the real-world winner's circle -- and in just half a season."

He adds, "Clearly, Wyatt Gooden has a great deal of native talent, as he demonstrated in his kart-racing career and in the iRacing.com Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series last year. But it's very gratifying for us to be part of the development of his real-world career. This should be inspiring to race game enthusiasts who dream about someday being able to follow Wyatt's lead."

The second-place winner and pole-winner of the Mid-Ohio race was Arie Ouimet, who also spends a lot of time practicing with iRacing.com. Unlike Gooden, Ouimet was sponsored by VW Parts & Accessories and not iRacing.com. You can read more about the race and how Gooden's experience with iRacing.com came into play in this press release.

Press Start Featuring Video Game-Inspired Works From 30+ Artists

June 25, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Headquarters Galerie & Boutique in Montreal is celebrating its fourth anniversary with an upcoming exhibit that gathers over 30 local and international artists who've created works based on "the most popular video games from our childhood" -- classics like Street Fighter, Space Harrier, Tetris, Adventure, and More.

The Press Start show begins July 1st and will run until the end of the month. Headquarters Galerie & Boutique plan to throw a launch party on July 8th, and will feature Toy Company's VJ/DJ Pocaille mixing "the most famous 8 bits sounds from the past". Jump past the post break to see some of the artwork that will be on display and a full list of the participating artists.

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