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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 July, 2010

GameSetNetwork: Best Of The Week

July 26, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Examining 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 good things in here would include the latest NPD U.S. game sales analysis, an interview with Warren Spector, a mammoth postmortem of Tale Of Tales' The Path, plus practical pieces on design and coding, and some neat new GCG pieces.

Bomb diddy bom:

Putting the 'Epic' in Epic Mickey
"In this interview, Warren Spector describes how his creative mission in life -- giving players choice and consequence -- informs the development of Disney Epic Mickey, a game players didn't expect from the designer yet which encompasses what they love about his work."

Postmortem: Tale of Tales' The Path
"Tale of Tales' Michaël Samyn and Auriea Harvey talk about their lauded indie game The Path from inception to post-release, taking in creative drives and methods, sales and critical reception -- and defining what inspiration and success mean in their own terms."

Evaluating Game Mechanics For Depth
"Former Insomniac designer Mike Stout takes shares a useful rubric for judging the depth of play mechanics, including checks for redundant ones, in this in-depth design article, which contains examples from the Ratchet & Clank series."

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2010 Edition (Part 4)

July 25, 2010 12:00 PM | Mister Raroo

Raroos at Comic-Con Logo[GameSetWatch's coverage of Comic-Con continues with another report from The Raroos. This update features Missus Raroo at the helm, and she discusses how the changes to Comic-Con in recent years run parallel to the changes in the Raroos' lives during the same period of time.]

Just as Mister Raroo and I have watched Comic-Con change over the years, so too have our lives. In our first years of attendance, we were just in our early twenties. We were out of college and working, but we did not yet have children, a mortgage or many other responsibilities. This meant we felt free to spend money to buy stacks of our favorite small press comics and manga. Back then, the general market wasn’t saturated with “graphic novels,” and so it was a real treat to discover new works that we couldn’t find at just any ordinary bookstore.

Each day, we would fill up our backpacks with new reading material, and we would head home with aching backs from hauling our goods around. Fast forward to today and we are still ending up with aching backs, but it’s no longer from backpacks full of purchases. Instead, we have backpacks full of diaper bag supplies, and we’re also frontloaded by taking turns carrying around our toddler son Kaz and infant daughter Yoshie.

As many can attest, Comic-Con has blown up in scale during the past decade. It wasn’t so long ago that people could walk up the same day to purchase available passes, and now the venue becomes sold out nearly a year in advance. With all of this growth, it seems like Comic-Con has perhaps lost some of its innocence and yet for our family, the experience has become fresher than ever because we are able to experience it in a new way with our children.

Sometimes people will hear that we’re taking our kids to Comic-Con and they either feel bad for the kids or else they feel bad for us. If Mister Raroo and I expected to get the same experience out of Comic-Con that we had when we were younger, I would agree that all parties would be pretty miserable and cranky. Luckily, Comic-Con is an opportunity that can be tailored to offer countless different experiences to all of its unique attendees.

Outsiders of Comic-Con usually assume that the experience is something that can be summed up by what they see in news coverage. In turn, we always get asked the same two questions by curious people in our lives: 1) What did you go dressed up as? and 2) Did you see any famous people? While Comic-Con is about dressing up for some and about seeing celebrities for others, this is not what it’s all about for the Raroos.

This Week In Video Game Criticism: Affectation, Accessibility, Waggle

July 25, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[We're partnering with game criticism site Critical Distance to present some of the week's most inspiring writing about the art and design of video games from commentators worldwide. This week, Ben Abraham examines pretentiousness in games, cultural accessibility, and intelligent use of the Wii-mote.]

I’m not sure how I missed including this last time I compiled TWIVGB – it’s Margaret Robertson with a piece she originally wrote for a Polish newspaper, freshly dusted off and popped online. It’s about ‘games as dating tools‘.

Sent in by Matthew Gallant and continuing the trend of sourcing from outside this week in blogging, Lost Chocolate Lab performs an ‘Informal Game Sound Study‘ by looking at the sounds of footsteps as heard in a number of games. Footstep sounds are a microcosm of the broader issues of game development.

Gallant also recommends Brilliam’s piece ‘Pretense, Affectation, Videogames‘ in which Brilliam diagnoses what he sees as the problem of affectation in the game enthusiast community: “the real problem: we, as game nerds, are too embarrassed by our pretentiousness to call it what it is.” Not sure I agree with this one, but thought provoking nonetheless.

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2010 Edition (Part 3)

July 24, 2010 12:00 PM | Mister Raroo

Raroos at Comic-Con Logo[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family are still going strong at San Diego Comic-Con. We’ll be running daily updates from the Raroos, continuing with this report on the second full day of the convention.]

In Debt to the Sleep Bank

There’s a reason sleep deprivation is sometimes used as a form of torture: It makes you go crazy. I’m definitely in need of a good night’s sleep, and hopefully that will come tonight because I feel like at the rate I’m going, everyone at Comic-Con is going to mistakenly think I’m wearing a zombie costume.

Despite my complete fatigue, however, my senses were alert enough to spot Shawn Smith not long after Missus Raroo and I arrived at the Convention Center this morning. He was on his way to do a signing, but he took a few moments to hang out and chat with us. Shawn was super friendly and it was great to finally have a chance to meet him in person. It’s always a treat when people turn out to be just as awesome in real life as they seem to be online.

I ducked into Namco’s booth to take a gander at Splatterhouse, in part because of the giant statue of protagonist Rick that was on display. Splatterhouse is one of the first games I owned for my Turbografx-16 way back when I was in high school, so I was anxious to see what the newest incarnation of the series was like. It’s no secret that there have been many development hiccups with Splatterhouse, and sadly the game seemed more than a little boring. I completely lost interest when the Namco representative who was talking to me about the game mentioned that it contained licensed music from a whole bunch of generic metal bands.

Capcom’s booth, on the other hand, featured a handful of games that really stood out. There was a ridiculously long line of players waiting to get their hands on Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but I decided not to bother waiting hours in line to play it. The game looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun, though, and it seems to combine the tried-and-true Marvel vs. Capcom gameplay with some really slick 3D character models and backdrops. I’m sure it’ll sell by the truckload.

Best Of Indie Games: Crafting Harpoons and Spears in Rome

July 24, 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 an educational strategy game, a new arcade shooter from indie celebrity cactus, a multiplayer mining game for the XBLIG and PC, and a pair of challenging platformers with great pixel art.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: 'Cellcraft' (Cellcraft Team, browser)
"Cellcraft is an educational strategy game based around living cells and organisms. A meteor is headed towards the planet, and your job is to create a organism which can save the Platypus species."

Game Pick: 'Fishbane' (Droqen, browser)
"Fishbane is a challenging platformer about a diver who explores the murky depths in the search for golden harpoons and goldfish. The game's main concept revolves around the ability to throw a harpoon into a wall and then jump on top of it, using it as an extra platform for reaching higher ground. Fishbane can also throw a harpoon, then jump on top and ride it across chasms."

Game Pick: 'Delve Deeper' (Lunar Giant Studios, commercial indie - demo available)
"Delve Deeper is a great single and multiplayer strategy game featuring dwarfs, mines and evil creatures. Over a number of turns, your task is to dig deep into the mountain, setting your team of dwarfs to work digging precious minerals and collecting ancient relics."

Game Pick: 'The Ultra Mission' (cactus, freeware)
"The Ultra Mission is an arcade shooter game in which you play as a soldier who has to rescue civilians from a group of armed kidnappers. The enemies will not hesitate to open fire at any threat, and have placed sentries and automated turrets to prevent you from achieving your mission objective."

Game Pick: 'Arvoesine' (Alastair John Jack, commercial indie - demo available)
"Arvoesine is a tough NES-style platformer in which you play a Roman soldier, throwing spears and swiping your sword at the enemy. The protagonist can throw spears in an arc at oncoming enemies, and make them eat his blade if they get too close. For baddies which fire projectiles, his trusty shield comes into play."

Pongversation Tests Your Game

July 23, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Pongversation doesn't necessarily look like a fun game, but it has a curious concept: one paddle trying to seduce another by bouncing conversation topics to the female paddle on the other side -- essentially turning what would normally be a rival into someone you're pursuing.

David Turpin, who created this game for an intermediate game design course at USC with the help of Nick Alexander, explains the conversation idea:

"A conversation starts when the player selects one of the many words floating about the screen and 'hits' it over to the other side. If the other paddle catches it, 'she' will voice a clue as to whether she liked that word as a conversation topic. Then, 'she' will select a word on her side - a word she is interested in - and tap it over to you. A conversation has begun.

The player must then catch a word and find a word that pertains to the other paddle's interests. For example, if the paddle hits over the word 'microcomputer,' you can guess 'she' is interested in technology. Finding another word relating to technology is the player's best bet to creating a conversation that is interesting to the other paddle."

As you provide the other paddle with more and more conversation topics she likes, the dividing line that halves the screen will move toward her side, which makes more words available to you and signifies the other paddle "opening up to you, allowing for a somewhat more intimate conversation".

While picking out related topics is important to make sure the conversation doesn't become "unstable" and breaks apart is important, you also need to make sure you aim your swings so the other paddle will catch it -- if either you or your partner fail to catch a word, the conversation will "hit a wall" and force you to start over.

You can read more about Pongversation and download the Windows/Mac game for free here.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of July 23

July 23, 2010 2:12 PM | Chris Remo

In a plentiful week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Harmonix, Armature Studios 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:

Bethesda Softworks: Senior Brand Manager
"The Senior Brand Manager will work closely with product development to make sure our games meet and exceed consumer expectations and are commercially viable, achieve profitability and ROI goals, are well positioned in the marketplace, have a strategic marketing plan, and are brought to market successfully and managed throughout their lifecycle as ongoing brands."

CCP China: Senior Backend Programmer
"The Senior Backend Programmer will be responsible for leading a team in developing backend server side game systems for the Dust 514 title. Successful candidates will have experience developing data intensive systems that can run at scale. Experience leading a team from a technical perspective is a big plus."

WarioWare Meets MAME: Totally Tiny Arcade

July 23, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Indie game developer Joe Lesko has released Totally Tiny Arcade, a collection of minigames parodying classic arcade titles (e.g. Pizzaroids, Shape Invaders). He describes the release as "a bit like WarioWare meets MAME, with a cheesy '80s plot added in."

Totally Tiny Arcade offers 27 minigames (each with several levels that introduce new enemies and challenges), a "hidden 8-bit treasure" in each game, three play modes, multiple endings, personal online scoreboards, and music by Marcus "Makke Nilson" Nilsson. It also lets you send the full game for three friends to play for free.

To celebrate the game's launch (or re-launch, since this is an update of a previous game called Joystick Johnny), Lesko has made the PC game available for free until next Monday. After then, you'll need to pay $15.99 for a copy.

[Via IndieGames.com]

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2010 Edition (Part 2)

July 23, 2010 12:00 PM | Mister Raroo

Raroos at Comic-Con Logo[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family are at San Diego Comic-Con and are giving us the skinny on their experiences. We’ll be running daily updates from the Raroos, continuing with this report on the first full day of the convention.]

The Smell of Hard Corps in the Morning

Considering that we didn’t get a full night’s sleep and we had to drop our son Kaz off at daycare before driving to downtown San Diego to find parking, I think Missus Raroo and I did very well to arrive at the Convention Center right around 10:00 am. We wanted to have a little time to hit the main floor and check out some more booths before walking over to Konami’s suite at the ritzy Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.

Konami had a lot of games available to play, and I chose to start off by trying out the beautiful Hard Corps: Uprising. I spent a great deal of my freshman year in college playing Contra Hard Corps on my Sega Genesis, and Hard Corps: Uprising is essentially a spiritual sequel to that game. At the ready to answer questions was Associate Producer Kenji Yamamoto, who jumped in and played co-op with me through the game’s first stage.

I’ve got to say, I kind of wish I had guys like Mr. Yamamoto around to play games with more often because he was smiling the entire time and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself. He and I had a good chat about how great it is that 2D game design truly seems to have made such a strong comeback. And when I told him how much I appreciated the bright, vibrant colors used in Hard Corps: Uprising's visual design, he just laughed and thanked me for noticing.

Seriously, I’m so sick of drab games, and in the wrong hands a game like Hard Corps: Uprising could be yet another dull military-themed shooter. Thankfully, that's not the case, and in fact it almost seems downright happy… well, aside from the continuous shooting and explosions, that is. Three cheers for developers realizing there are other colors besides gray and brown!

More Of Everything, By Everyone

July 23, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

With 40 days remaining and $6,500 left to raise for its pledge drive, the makers of Everything, filmmaker Nathan Kurun By Everyone have released a new trailer for Everything, By Everyone, his documentary on "Newgrounds and the online cultural trends it helped create and drive over the last decade or so".

This new video features clips from Kurun's interviews with figures like animator/The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi, Troma director Lloyd Kaufman, and animator/activist Nina Paley, as well as some bits from the previous trailer, which offered cameos of by Edmund McMillen (Super Meat Boy) and Attack of the Show!'s Kevin Pereira.

Kurun's Kickstarter project for Everything, By Everyone still has some neat incentives for those of you who want to contribute some cash and see this movie completed, like DVD copies of the documentary, high fives, tours of the Newgrounds office in Philadelphia, invitations to a screening party, and more!

[Via Team Meat]

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