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Archive For August, 2010

Griffin Reveals PartyDock For iPhone/iPad

August 31, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Apple accessory manufacturer Griffin has unveiled PartyDock, a new peripheral that allows up to four users to play games on a single iPad or iPhone 4 with their own wireless controllers. It's also designed as a media dock for video/photos/music and can connect to an external monitor (composite/component connections).

Griffin hasn't announced pricing or a release date for PartyDock yet, but it says it will release a PartyDock app with three free minigames (Midway Motors, Fishing Frenzy, and Flippin' Frogs) and support a Wits & Wagers Family app. Some product shots of the dock show off a Battle of the Sexes port, too.

The company says it will release more PartyDock-compatible games in the future, which consumers will be able to find by searching for "Griffin Publishing" in the App Store.

Lost In Shadow's Facebook Promotion Donates Money To Child's Play

August 31, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Hudson Entertainment wants to do some good while marketing its shadow-based puzzle platformer Lost In Shadow, so the company is running a campaign on Facebook where every time someone 'Likes' the game's page on the social network, it will donate 10 cents to the Child's Play charity.

10 cents might not seem like a lot, but if enough people take a few seconds to give the page a thumbs up, they could potentially raise thousands. Hudson says it will also donate $1 to Child's Play for anyone who likes the page and changes their profile picture to a picture of a shadow (any shadow).

The publisher plans to count up all the 'Likes' and Shadow Profile Pictures at its Lost in Shadow Facebook page on September 7th. Lost in Shadow, which you can learn more about here, releases for Wii on January 4th, 2011.

Column: 'Diamond in the Rough': S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Defense

August 31, 2010 12:00 PM |

clearsky4.jpg['Diamond In The Rough' is a regularly scheduled GameSetWatch opinion column by Tom Cross focusing on the best bits of less-than-excellent games. This week, Tom loads up Stalker: Clear Sky and thinks of Defense of the Ancients.]

Uber Entertainment's new XBLA title Monday Night Combat is set to introduce the shooter to the Defense of The Ancients-inspired Tower Defense genre in a big way. The former is a new, exciting genre, whose early successes have been mostly relegated to the realm of RTS’s, from League of Legends to Demigod.

Here and there, mods and lesser-known indie games pop up that attempt to do what Monday Night Combat is doing. What no one seems to realize is that while MNC may be the flashiest entry to the first and third person action shooter tower defense genre (an impermanent name, I hope), it has a strange, unsuccessful predecessor in the form of GSC Game World's Stalker: Clear Sky.

Stalker certainly isn’t a franchise that screams “tower defense.” The original Stalker game, Shadow of Chernobyl, is an open-world “immersive” sim. It’s set in the ruins of Chernobyl (as are the other games in the series, Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat), where mysterious anomalies, mutated horrors, and scavengers (called “Stalkers”) fight for breathing space and primacy.

My first playthrough of SOC remains one of the more frightening, unique experiences I’ve had in a game. The open valleys, ragged settlements, and deadly horrifying tunnels and warrens of The Zone (as the blasted area is called in-game) are home to deadly, dark, and meticulously realized encounters with murderous forces.

GDC Online Debuts Blizzard, Koster, Bigpoint Track Keynotes, Pre-Deadline

August 31, 2010 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

[This is the final pre-early deadline heads up for GDC Online, which I'll be attending in a few weeks in Austin, and there's some big names in the final track keynotes announcement, including the folks at Blizzard on Battle.net and online design legend Raph Koster.]

A day before the GDC Online early deadline, the major October 5th-8th Austin-based event has added track keynotes from Blizzard's Greg Canessa (on Battle.net), Playdom's Raph Koster (on social mechanics), and Bigpoint's Heiko Hubertz (on the rise of Europe in online gaming).

The Austin, Texas based GDC Online conference -- formerly known as GDC Austin -- is sharply focused on the development of online games, including free-to-play titles, social network games, and traditional MMOs, with a veteran online game industry advisory board evaluating and selecting the lectures.

There are now more than 120 panels, lectures and tutorials currently scheduled for the October 5th-8th event -- and following the announcement of a keynote from Civilization II designer and now Zynga chief game designer Brian Reynolds (FrontierVille), three track keynotes are debuting.

The brand-new track keynotes across the GDC Online Main Conference, which takes place from Wednesday October 6th to Friday October 8th, and for which majorly discounted passes are only available until Wednesday, are:

- In a production track keynote called 'Battle.net: A Postmortem', Blizzard's Battle.net project director Greg Canessa and technical director Matt Versluys will present an extremely rare lecture from the World Of Warcraft and Starcraft II creators, "sharing lessons learned from building and launching the new iteration of an online game service that connects and powers all Blizzard titles."

Fast Striker Releasing For Dreamcast, Preorders Open

August 31, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

NG:Dev.Team, the indie German crew that put out Last Hope for Neo Geo AES/CD and Dreamcast a few years ago, plans to release a Dreamcast version of its new and original Neo Geo MVS shoot'em-up Fast Striker this winter.

Fast Striker features three game modes/difficulties (each with different scoring systems), six stages, more than 40 animated enemy types, over six animated bosses, 3D scrolling backgrounds, a 17-song soundtrack, internet rankings via code, and more.

You can put in a preorder now for the region-free game, with either a standard edition for €33/$42 or a limited edition copy that includes a soundtrack CD and an alternate insert for €46/$58. You can also buy a Fast Striker Double Bundle that includes both versions for €69/$88.

History Revised: Molleindustria's Memory Reloaded

August 31, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

MolleIndustria, makers of Oiligarchy and Every Day The Same Dream, have put out another thought-provoking game called Memory Reloaded: The Downfall, a quick experience similar to the card-matching game we've all played but updated for "these unstable times". You can play it for free online here.

You might remember that Molleindustria released a similar Memory Reloaded game in Italian a few years, which also tested how players remembered history, but this new version looks at the "semantic shifts, revisions, and manipulations" of current events like universal/socialized health care, ruthless/needy bankers, etc.

Retro/Grade PAX Trailer, Contest

August 31, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Ahead of its appearance at PAX later this week, 24 Caret Games has posted a new trailer for its time-bending shooter/rhythm game hybrid Retro/Grade, which was a finalist in both the Design and Audio categories at the 2009 Independent Games Festival awards.

That initial IGF prototype has changed a lot in the past two years, and this video shows off the game's new visuals, new perspective, new music, and more, building on an already awesome concept: play a shoot'em up in reverse, dodging enemy shots bullets behind you while catching your own shots, manipulating time to undo your mistakes.

24 Caret Games will show off Retro/Grade at PAX booth 3008, giving out posters, info cards, and even a shirt if you can beat a specific challenge. It's also running a contest in which the gamers with the top five scores using a guitar controller and the top five score using a DualShock 3 will receive their name in the credits.

Retro/Grade will release on PSN some time in 2011. You can find more information on the title at its official site.

[Via PlayStation Blog]

COLUMN: 'Pixels On Stage' – The Dudleys!

August 31, 2010 12:00 AM | Matthew Hawkins

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/dudleys1.jpg[Pixels On Stage is a new not-so-regular GameSetWatch column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that will highlight the ever-increasing convergence of video games and performance art. This first entry takes a look at a unique 8-bit specific stage production that has just wrapped up its first run in New York City, called The Dudleys!]

Reaching the end of its very first limited engagement run in Manhattan later this evening is the off-Broadway play The Dudleys! Subtitled "A Family Game", The Dudleys! is the brainchild of Leegrid Stevens and has been described as a look at the adolescent memories of a young man through a glitchy 8-bit game.

In fact, before the play even begins, Stevens inserts a cartridge into the NES that's placed at the foot of the stage, to "start" the proceedings. And the memories in question are centered around the death of devoted husband and father Tom Dudley, along with the effect it has on the rest of the family.

First we have the two Dudley boys: Derek, who suffers from a classic case of youngest child syndrome, and Vic, the eldest son whose memories fuel the game. There's also middle sister Sylvia, who has the most promising future but is accident prone. And rounding out the immediate family is Clara, Tom's wife and mother of the aforementioned children, who ends up exhibiting the most pronounced aftereffect of her husband's death.

The entire family was devoted to the Mormon faith, but Tom's passing causes her to look for spiritual fulfillment elsewhere, specifically Judaism. A decision that sends shockwaves throughout the rest of the clan.

Gamasutra Hits 1 Million Monthly Readers, Adds Parkin, Morris, Orland To Editors

August 30, 2010 8:00 PM | Simon Carless

[We're totally stoked to add multiple distinguished new contributors to Gamasutra, including some of our 'must-get' writers from both the U.S. and Europe, just as traffic hits an all-time high - see below for the full info.]

As Gamasutra reaches the milestone of one million unique monthly readers and nearly 450,000 registered users, the leading video game art and business site is announcing notable new contributors including Simon Parkin, Chris Morris and Kyle Orland.

Cementing its position as the largest, most-trafficked website in the game development and business space, internal Omniture traffic numbers for July 2010 revealed over 3.3 million page views from more than 1 million unique readers for Gamasutra.com alone -- with hundreds of thousands of others reading related sites such as GameCareerGuide.com and IndieGames.com.

In addition, following the departure of editor at large Chris Remo to become Community Manager at Irrational Games (BioShock Infinite), the site has added multiple new contributors to bolster its cutting-edge coverage of all facets of the video game business.

Joining existing core staff -- including news director Leigh Alexander, senior news editor Kris Graft and features director Christian Nutt -- will be Simon Parkin as the site's European editor, providing UK-timed news and original reporting for the site.

I Want To Believe: UFO On Tape

August 30, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Indie developer Nicolai Troshinsky has created a neat little experience for the Experimental Gameplay Project's "Zero Button" challenge this month. In UFO on Tape, players have spotted an alien craft from their car, and must use their mouse to keep the camcorder trained on the ship -- if you lose the UFO, your camera's battery runs out and the game ends.

It's a simple title, even more so than Orisinal's similar UFO game The Truth Is Up There released nine years ago, but the grainy graphics, distant buildings, out of focus elements, and sound effects (e.g. cars driving by, turn signals) really capture the feel of those amateur videos you often see in documentaries about aliens. You can download UFO on Tape for free from Game Jolt.

[Via IndieGames.com]

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