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Archive For July, 2010

Kana: Little Sister Eroge Releasing For PSP

July 27, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

I hadn't heard anything about this until Andriasang posted about pre-order bonuses for the game this morning, but CyberFront is porting Kana: Little Sister (Kana Imouto) to PSP in Japan.

Those of you who recall our Aberrant Gamer column or Leigh Alexander's piece on Kana: Little Sister will remember it as that incest-themed visual novel game. Leigh described it best, though, as "much less a sex game than it is a self-generated essay on deep-rooted human essentials: the value of life, the nature of family, the manifold definitions of love".

It's also the game that apparently got a Japanese father into serious trouble after his wife discovered that he named their daughter after the eroge's titular character (he had told her before that Kana was the name of a "really wonderful child" from a book he read years ago).

Originally released for PCs in Japan in 1999, Kana: Little Sister will ship for PSPs this October with new artwork (based on the original character designs, not on those from the 2004 Kana Okaeri remake), re-recorded voices, a new opening movie, around 20 new CG events, and more.

CyberFront has likely taken some elements out, however, in order to make the game more appropriate to the PSP audience. It appears that the developer has edited out the nude/pornographic scenes, as was going to be the case with Panther Software's cancelled Xbox 360 port of Kana: Little Sister.

You can learn more about Kana: Little Sister's PSP port at CyberFront's Japanese site for the game.

Olly Moss' Bookmark For Gamers

July 27, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Olly Moss, the super talented illustrator behind those stylish Video Game Classics book covers and A Life Well Wasted posters, has created this clever bookmark that gamers are sure to appreciate -- every smart player/reader knows that saving often is a must, lest you lose your progress/place.

"Urban Outfitters asked me to design them a bookmark to hand out in-store," explains Moss. "I couldn't help but nerd it up." Of course, you could easily create one of these yourself with some cardstock and a printer, but we'll let you know when the apparel shop will begin selling or giving these out.

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 7/24/10

July 27, 2010 12:00 AM |

['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. This time -- an analytical look at the latest video game magazines released in the last couple of weeks, alongside a tribute to closing UK magazine PC Zone.]

pczone-1005.jpg

It was with a sad heart that I learned recently that PC Zone, the oldest English-language PC game mag still in operation (predating PC Gamer by seven months), is closing up shop with Issue 225 in September. The news was hardly unexpected, given that PC Zone has one of the lowest ABC-rated circulations of any game magazine in the UK at the moment, but it's sad nonetheless.

Will Porter, who wrote for PC Zone for a long time and edited it for a run in 2008, wrote a memorial for Rock, Paper, Shotgun that both explains why the mag is worth remembering and offers a few examples of its greatest moments. If I could summarize my opinion more succinctly, I'd say that PC Zone was a great example of a mag you bought not because of what's on the cover, but because you genuinely dig the folks who wrote it and wanted to get their unique take on video games. There were mags like that in the '80s and '90s, but more recently they've been a dying breed.

Porter blames the Internet in general for PCZ's demise, of course, but I think the real culprit is the rise of gaming podcasts, the best of which are addictive fun for the exact same reason I gave above. Like those podcasts, PCZ wasn't trying to be the ultimate final source for all things games, a trap that lots of mags fell into and keep falling into.

It was just trying to have some fun and maybe attract a few readers along the way, and the fact it lasted over 200 issues indicates that they were doing something right, at least. (On that note, I think an official PCZ podcast would be a great way to keep the "spirit" going. Not as lucrative, perhaps, but UK game-writer salaries aren't exactly first-class to start with, so...)

Let's move on to my coverage of the game mags that crossed my desk in the past little while, a somewhat boring post-E3 period despite the launch of a brand-new mag in the US:

Hothead's Developer Diary On 'Engineering Funny'

July 26, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Now that Deathspank is out and available to purchase for XBLA/PSN, Hothead Games has more time to work on other projects like this new developer diary video, which takes a different, more playful approach than traditional dev diaries with the hope of showing more of the studio's personality.

Here, Hothead's lead designer Darren Evenson examines the company's approach to "engineering funny" into their games, focusing on key elements like timing and Three's Company ("Where the kisses are hers and hers and his, Three's Company too!").

The independent developer is looking for reactions and feedback on the video before producing more of these developer diaries, so make sure to share your thoughts on the video's Youtube page or Hothead's blog. If we never get to see the next diary entry about "how to amp up action in your video games", you only have yourself to blame!

Undead Civil Rights Group Protests Burn Zombie Burn's PC Release

July 26, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

As Doublesix prepares to bring Burn Zombie Burn, its fun dual stick PSN shooter, to PC via Steam in early August, the UK developer and publisher P2 Games is receiving opposition from undead civil rights group B.R.A.A.A.I.N.S., or the Brotherhood for the Restriction of Attacks, Ammunition And Injury of Necrotic Species.

The fictional organization takes issue with the game's premise of shooting, burning, and blowing up waves of zombies, and is especially opposed to the PC edition's new Survival mode and Extreme difficulty mode. It's probably not too happy about the included strategy guide and comic with instructions on how to eliminate the undead, either.

"... the release of Burn Zombie Burn on Steam is a threat to ghouls everywhere, since it celebrates the destruction of the undead in all sorts of creative ways including bashing with baseball bats, chainsawing, lawnmowering... and don't even get me started about the Brain Gun!" says the group's head spokesman Romero A. Bubb.

He ads, "It's unfortunate that P2 Games is stoking the flames of anti-zombie sentiment with this release. Don't we have enough of that wanton destruction in movies? Please, join with B.R.A.A.A.I.N.S. to protest this game. After all, destroying an undead brain is a terrible waste when it can be fed to starving zombies everywhere!"

[Image via ThinkGeek]

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2010 Edition (Part 5)

July 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Mister Raroo

Live Action Raroos at Comic-Con[GameSetWatch's coverage of Comic-Con concludes with a collection of photos from the event compliments of The Raroos. In a revelation that shocked everyone here at GameSetWatch, it turns out Mister Raroo and his family may not actually be a group of elephants after all, but instead are actual human beings! Thanks for reading the Comic-Con series. We hope you enjoyed it!]

Attending San Diego Comic-Con International for Preview Night and all four main days is a tiring feat, and I think I speak for the entire Raroo family when I say we are completely exhausted.

We had a lot of fun this year, especially since it was the first time we were able to attend with baby Yoshie. Missus Raroo and I may have been able to more nimbly navigate the crowds and attend panels to our hearts’ content in the past, but having our kids along with us is definitely more fulfilling.

We feel like we’ve written more than enough on Comic-Con this year, so instead of wrapping up our coverage with more of the same, we thought it would be fun to share some of the photos from our time at Comic-Con. A special thank-you goes out to all of the friendly people we were able to meet up with this year!

Klingon Signs at the Trolley Stop

The San Diego Trolley stop near the Convention Center changed its signage from English... to Klingon! We noticed it as we were making our way to the Convention Center on Preview Night, and we thought it was a pretty cute. There aren’t as many Star Trek cosplayers as in years past, but having the signs in Klingon is kind of a nod of the head to the old-school Comic-Con attendees.

Best of GamerBytes - Our Analysis Of The Industry

July 26, 2010 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

pvszonlawn.jpg[We round up the week's top news and new digital releases from console digital download site GamerBytes, featuring new information about Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, WiiWare, DSiWare and PSN Minis.]

This week we've gone all-out on our analysis of the industry -- Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network have been looked at in-depth, based on Leaderboard and sales data. We've also looked at the last 6 months of Xbox Live Arcade Leaderboard data to see how well games, both old and new, are selling.

It's fascinating data, and some that we hope has helped many developers looking to get into the space. We hope it gives you an insightful look into how the console digital games space is working, as well.

Store Updates

XBLA Update - Summer Of Arcade Begins With Limbo, Destination Arcade, Plus Game Pack 007 Part 2
NA PSN Store Update - Gravity Crash PSP, Sam And Max Episode 4, Young Thor And More
EU PSN Store Update - Sam and Max: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, Gravity Crash PSP, Young Thor And More
NA Nintendo Update - Furry Legends, AquaSpace, HoopWorld And More
EU Nintendo Update - Aero The Acrobat, Arcade Sports

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 Comic-Con Demonstration

July 26, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Aside from titles like Ghost Trick and Okamiden -- which Mister Raroo played and previewed over the weekend -- Capcom brought Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 to San Diego Comic-Con, offering attendees an early look at the XBLA/PSN sequel to 2008's Bionic Commando remake.

Gametrailers scored a developer walkthrough with Capcom producer Rey Jimenez, who demonstrated some of the changes introduced in this Fatshark-developed follow-up, such as the new jumping feature (deemed sacrilege by some Bionic Commando purists) and a significant visual upgrade.

As Jimenez explains in this showfloor demo, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 uses the same Diesel Engine as the original but adds more foreground and background elements to show "a lot more going on in general". The stage shown here looks great! Let's just hope Fatshark has put as much effort into designing the stages to ensure they're still challenging even with the new jump feature.

Adam Saltsman Posts Prototypes, Gravity Hook HD Release Date

July 26, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Adam "Atomic" Saltsman, creator of Flash Actionscript library Flixel and developer of runaway iPhone hit Canabalt, has posted online five prototypes of game ideas he's tinkered with between June 2008 to May 2010.

The prototypes include Rocket Warrior, a Rocket Knight-inspired action title; Nova Miners, a co-op digging/exploration game; Zombie Office, which so far is a level generator for a Metal Slug-esque shooter; Stellar, an overworld for a co-op, procedurally generated Zelda clone; and Take Aim, a Silent Scope-styled sniper game.

Each of the experiments are in various incomplete states, with Take Aim (pictured) seeming to have the most meat to it. Saltsman says he hasn't totally given up on his Nova Miners and Rocket Knight ideas, so it's possible we might see more fleshed out versions of those games, too.

The developer also recently announced that Gravity Hook HD, a remake of his addictive, mine-ascending game, will release to the App Store with a universal (iPhone and iPad) app on July 29th for $2.99.

[Via IndieGames.com]

Infamous 2's Comic Cut Scene Fit For A Superhero

July 26, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Last week, we shared a video interview with Sucker Punch Productions on the comic book influences of the studio's PS3 franchise Infamous. At its recent panel at Comic-Con, the developer continued that sentiment with the debut of this 2D cutscene from Infamous 2, drawn with a comic book style.

"It’s time consuming and a lot of hard work but, in the end, I hope Infamous 2 will reflect our love for comic books and give fans the experience of being a super powered hero," explains Sucker Punch senior artist Edward Pun.

Fitting with the theme of comic books, which seem to reinvent their superheroes' look every few years, Infamous' protagonist Cole McGrath features a new voice actor, David Sullivan (replacing Jason Cottle), who you can hear in this trailer.

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