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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 August, 2010

Sense of Wonder Night 2010's Featured Indie Games Revealed

August 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Sense of Wonder Night 2010's organizers revealed their list of nine innovative indie games from around the world to be presented at next month's Tokyo Game Show presentation and on the TGS show floor.

Running for three years now, SOWN is an annual event aiming to discover new and unconventional game concepts that "catch people by surprise and give them a Sense of Wonder -- a sense that something will change in their world -- right at the instant of seeing or hearing the concept."

The Japanese groups behind SOWN, CESA and Nikkei Business Publications, hope to give the developers of these titles an opportunity to share their ideas and prototypes with their peers.

Previous notable games that have also been Sense Of Wonder Night exhibitors include Shadow Physics, PixelJunk Eden, The Misadventures Of P.B. Winterbottom, and Moon Stories.

The selected finalists for SOWN 2010 are as follows:

Best Of GamerBytes - Versus The World

August 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

met.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.]

Summer is over, but the games keep on coming. WIth Shank, Scott Pilgrim, PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap, and And Yet It Moves, this is possibly one of the best weeks across all console digital download platforms in a while.

Also this week, we released our long-delayed analysis of the PlayStation Network for July -- not much to say, but DeathSpank did quite well over there. Check it out!

XBLA Update - Scott Pilgrim, Shank, Snoopy DLC, Game Room Update
NA PSN Store Update - Shank, PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap, Motorstorn 3D Rift And Morere
EU PSN Store Update - Shank, PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap
NA Nintendo Update - And Yet It Moves, Uforia: The Saga, Rytmik, G.G Ninja And More
EU Nintendo Update - And Yet It Moves, Tales of Elastic Boy, Where's Wally? Travel Pack 1 And More

GamerBytes Originals

In-Depth: PlayStation Network Sales Analysis, July 2010

Top Stories

Namco's Next XBLA Re-Imagining Is Metro Cross? (XBLA)
A remake of an obscure 1985 title?

Xbox Indies - Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess (XBLIG)
Oh crap, it's the duke.

Xbox Indies - Gravitron 360 (Dark Castle Software) (XBLIG)
Steam favorite comes to XBLIG.

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES Expands To Rock Band And... Hot Topic? (XBLIG)
Made a T-Shirt with Zombies on it.

Torchlight Possibly Coming To Consoles (XBLA / PSN)
Diablo-Light headed our way?

DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue Revealed, Out In September (XBLA / PSN)
Quick sequel to July's big title.

Dungeon Defenders Announced For XBLA, PSN (XBLA / PSN)
Wizaaaaard.

Hoaxlike: Serial Killer

August 30, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Just a week after debuting videos and details about Serial Killer, his unsettling but intriguing roguelike project/murder simulator somewhat based on Showtime's Dexter series, Crimson King has revealed that the entire thing was a hoax!

I'm sure some will believe this is for the best, as the concept was definitely disturbing: an open world in which you play as a custom or real serial killer (e.g. Jeffrey Dahmer), stalk/kill/torture/mutilate victims, and evade the police.

Almost as interesting as the game is Crimson King's excuses for creating the hoax. At first, he claimed it was a university project studying the responses and Youtube accounts/forum profiles of people interested in the game. He then revised that explanation and said he posted the videos to "troll" gamers.

Temple of the Roguelike also has several plausible theories on why the developer created the hoax or cancelled the project. Though Crimson King has since deleted the demonstration videos he posted of Serial Killer's gameplay, Temple of Roguelike has preserved the original forum thread in which he announced the game.

Cavia Vets Form Detune, Announce Korg M01

August 30, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though a number of music applications have released for Nintendo DS/DSiWare, the Korg DS-10 series remains the most popular software for artists wanting to compose tracks on the dual screen portable. DS musicians will be happy to hear that the creators of the Korg DS-10 releases have formed a new studio (jumping from Cavia/AQ Interactive) called Detune and are working on Korg M01.

As its title suggests, the software is based on electronic musical instrument maker Korg's popular M1 music workstation. Korg M01 features "a wide variety of music", an 8-track sequencer, and more than 300 sounds. The application is designed so "anyone can generate musical notes, chords, and drums by [using the] touch screen without music knowledge".

The gentleman you'll see demonstrating Korg M01 in the video above is celebrated composer Yasunori Mitsuda Nobuyoshi Sano of Ridge Racer and Tekken fame, how heading Detune. Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger), who produced the previous Korg DS-10 releases with his company Procyon Studio, is likely also working on the project.

The software is scheduled to release this December in Japan, published by Korg and Detune.

[Via Joystiq]

Haiku RPG Featuring Christopher Walken

August 30, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Inspired by the haiku minigames in PS3's Japan-only summer holiday sim Boku no Natsuyasumi 3 (My Summer Vacation 3), John Szczepaniak of Hardcore Gaming 101 developed his own PC title called Haiku Quest, a JRPG in which players try to compose "the five perfect haiku".

It's a curious concept, but the bullet point feature that will likely stand out to most people is that the indie game features some voice work from actor renown Christopher Walken:

"... On a whim which I never expected to work, I emailed Christopher’s agent and, intrigued by the idea of a non-profit independent game based on Japanese poetry, he took five minutes from his schedule to record the lines on someone’s laptop and emailed me a giant WAV file to cut up.

If his voice sounds a little off, it’s because he was pressed for time (he apologises) and it wasn’t done in any kind of sound booth. I did my best to clean it up though.

The poems are generally free-form, but I tried to adhere to most of the rules for writing English haiku. Since only fellow game players are likely to take an interest, all the poems were based on well-known videogames. I suppose the great failing of this endeavour is that you need a background in games to understand them. Christopher mentioned he only got a couple of the references."

You can download Haiku Quest for free here. Along with Walken's contributions, the game features "a large overworld to explore" various villages/NPCs/stores, an "instant-time" battle system, five different monsters, an inventory system, 125 differrent poems to compose, and a "special hidden secret" from the haiku gods.

[Update: This turned out to be a hoax, as far Christopher Walken contributing to the game. Please accept our apologies for being gullible enough to believe this!]

GameSetNetwork: The Best Of The Week

August 30, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Examining the feature-length stories from the Gamasutra network, here's the top full-length features and blogs of the past week on big sister 'art and business of gaming' site Gamasutra, plus the new pieces from educational site GameCareerGuide that debuted last week.

We're continuing our new format that simply has basic links to the Gamasutra and GameCareerGuide features, but also points out the articles rounding up our Member Blogs and Expert Blogs sections on Gamasutra.

Here's the rundown for the last seven days:

- The last week of notable Gamasutra features include an interview with American McGee and RJ Berg on the new Alice game, discussion on handling gaming's top controversies, plus Ernest Adams on 'sandbox storytelling' and a agile development book extract, plus Jack Emmert on Cryptic and Neverwinter.

- The highlights from Gamasutra's Expert Blogs sees industry notables write on the debate over 3D stereoscopic games, compensating for players' reaction times, and the new breed of rhythm games.

- In highlights from Gamasutra's Member Blogs, our bloggers write about diverse topics, including the value of "winning" versus "not losing," the importance of interaction, and more.

- Educational site GameCareerGuide's latest features include the winners of the LCD game design challenge, plus a new design conundrum around MMOs and a piece on lessons from Christopher Nolan's Inception.

Opinion: Love, It's Working - Meaning And Action In Games

August 29, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[In this editorial, our own Christian Nutt looks at the way games use interaction and escapism -- with real-world parallels -- to see what actions can be meaningful, and what kinds drill down to meaningless button-presses.]

I just got back from Ikea.

I hate going to Ikea. I hate it because the store's design is intentionally obstructive to navigation, and because, inevitably, it's very crowded.

I'm going to assume that the majority of readers, no matter what country they hail from, have been in an Ikea. It's a European chain that's huge in the U.S., and there's one right outside Tokyo.

If not, the short of it is this. Most Ikea stores have two floors. The top floor, through which you enter the store, is a maze-like furniture showroom. Finish the first level and you can descend to the next floor, in which you have to wend your way through a dizzying array of household items.

If you make it through that maze, you're rewarded with the self-serve furniture warehouse and the checkouts -- and the exit of the dungeon.

I'm not the only person who has thought about Ikea this way, it turns out. Thinking about Ikea like a video game is not just a fun thought exercise -- it's a practical strategy for dealing with it.

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Me and My Porno-Modem

August 29, 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.]

compute1.jpg   compute168.JPG

It's the worst of the summer doldrums right now in lovely East Texas, and so I'm curling up with some of the computer magazines I had in my youth in hopes that the nostalgia will keep me in reverie until wintertime.

Chief among them at the moment is Compute!, a magazine that ran from 1979 to 1994 and, alongside Creative Computing, was one of the first really big multiplatform personal computer titles. As I've written before, much of Compute!'s charm has been necessarily lost to time -- it's from an era where programming the hardware, not simply using software written by someone else, was something all PC owners were expected to do; it was part of the whole fun of the computer hobby.

To hobbyists like that, Compute!'s in-depth programming discussions were gold in their mailbox every month. A modern-day college student, meanwhile, will likely look at the page after page of machine code printed in most mid-1980s editions and wonder why anyone paid money simply for the right to spend hours typing in programs. And I can't blame them. It was simpler times back then, we worked 13 hours in the coal mines and begged for the chance to play text-mode clones of Pac-Man, etc.

Phantom Fingers: The Series -- Part Five: Myths and Legends

August 28, 2010 12:00 PM |

[Phantom Fingers is a new GameSetWatch-exclusive column on 'the growth and curious development of that relationship between the gameworld and the player' by writer and game theorist Eric-Jon Rössel Tairne [aka Eric-Jon Waugh]. Following looks at Pong, Breakout, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man, he now examines the inexorable rise of Shigeru Miyamoto, from Donkey Kong through Mario Bros to Super Mario Bros.]

It is 1981. Somewhere between testing and mass release, interest in Nintendo’s Space Invaders clone Radar Scope had cooled. It’s not that the game was poor. It’s just that six months earlier Pac-Man had changed the arcade landscape, and in the narrowing landscape for Invaders clones there was only room for excellence. Do we order Radar Scope, or do we order Galaga? Easy choice.

Enter the slacker art school kid who was only ever hired as a favor to his family. Shigeru Miyamoto was told to recoup losses by designing another game for the returned Radar Scope hardware, preferably aimed at US audiences. Inspired by Pac-Man, Miyamoto took pretty much all of Iwatani’s new ideas of scenario, character, empathy, and play narrative, and pretty much built a whole game on them without the traditional clutter.

“How High Can You Get?”

Whereas half of Pac-Man’s appeal lay in its character dynamics, Donkey Kong is nothing but character dynamics. You’re an everyman in a fairy tale, saving a damsel from not so much an evil as a misguided antagonist -- rather like Pac-Man’s ghosts. If anything, Donkey Kong is less violent than Pac-Man; any hazards are inanimate, and even the final confrontation is curiously indirect.

Best Of Indie Games: Caves, Gardens and Sandboxes

August 28, 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 Cave Story-inspired platform game, an expanded Ludum Dare competition entry, a short interactive fiction adventure about the act of procrastinating, and a sandbox-style exploration game set in a harsh winter environment.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: 'Momodora' (Guilherme Martins, freeware)
"Momodora (pictured) is a 2D platformer that tells the story of an orphan girl named Isadora who went looking for a rare item in a secluded labyrinth. This network of caves harbour bug-eyed enemies of different shapes and sizes, but all of them bear the intention of hurting you in some way or the other."

Game Pick: 'To Hell with Johnny' (Michi, freeware)
"Originally created as a Ludum Dare competition entry, To Hell with Johnny is a 2D action game that tells the story of a football player who has to rescue his girlfriend Brianne from a group of demonic creatures. This requires descending from the top of a tall tower one platform at a time, and being very careful about where you land on."

Game Pick: 'Tales of Unspoken World' (Santa Ragione, browser)
"Tales of Unspoken World is a first person run and jump action game that features objects depicted as white lines on a black background, giving it a unique look and feel reminiscent of a Vib Ribbon game. There are three different worlds to sprint in, not counting the short tutorial section that provides a training ground for players to familiarize themselves with the controls."

Game Pick: 'Hummingbird Mind' (Jake Elliott, browser)
"Hummingbird Mind is an interactive story from the developer behind I Can Hold My Breath Forever. It follows a day in the life of a man who suffers from attention-deficit disorder, as he tries to do anything else besides work. It starts off a little slowly, but it's worth sticking at it, as the dialogue proves to be quite charming and occasionally rather witty."

Game Pick: 'depict1' (Kyle Pulver and Miroslav Malešević, browser)
"depict1 is a puzzle platformer created by Kyle Pulver during the Global Game Jam 2010 event earlier this year, and was just recently ported to Flash with all of the updates made to the Windows version now in one place. You play as a hooded character trapped in a cage, set free by a mysterious figure who provides advice and feed instructions to you behind the shadows."

Game Pick: 'Under the Garden' (Paul Greasley, freeware)
"Under the Garden is a sandbox-style exploration game set in a harsh winter environment, where supplies are limited and resources such as food and lumber for your fireplace have to be gathered from the land. Here you'll learn how to hunt, mine for valuable items, cut down trees for wood, and construct buildings or bridges out of bricks and boxes."

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