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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

Depreciation Guild Releases iPhone Puzzler

August 27, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Followers of indie rock/chip group The Depreciation Guild will be surprised to hear that the latest release from the band isn't an album or a music singe; it's an original iPhone/iPod Touch puzzle game caleld TileWild!:

"TileWild is an original action/puzzle game loosely based on the concept of additive and subtractive color mixing. Players combine tiles of one color with their counterpoints to fade them into the background and are awarded points for doing so.

By purposely offsetting color amounts and creating bigger stacks of tiles, more points are awarded…But be quick or be dead! What seems like a simple concept on the surface, quickly becomes a frenzied task of dexterity!"

Though the game does feature an "upbeat 8-bit soundtrack" composed by the band's vocalist/guitarist/bassist/programmer Kurt Feldman, it doesn't appaear to actually have any of that shoegazey pop that The Depreciation Guild is known for.

You can grab TileWild from the App Store for $0.99. The band's currently touring Europe and North America, so maybe you can download the game, attend one of their shows, and have them sign your iPhone/iPod Touch?

Up Down Ready Hammertime

August 27, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Sword Lady & The Viking's Up Down Ready, which just won a Freeplay award for Best Design, is now available to play for free online so you can see for yourself what the judges thought was so great about the WarioWare-style game and its pixelated graphics.

Though Up Down Ready initially plays like a traditional side-scroller, it soon leads you into a random series of non-traditional (and strange) micro-games that all use the same two-button Up/Down controls. At one point, I was hammer-dancing across a stage to dodge giant gray drops.

Each of the micro-games have different rules, so it might take you a few tries to figure out what they expect from you. Since each one only lasts around 20 seconds, though, you should be able to see all of them after a few playthroughs.

[Via IndieGames.com]

In-Depth: PlayStation Network Sales Analysis, July 2010

August 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[GamerBytes editor Ryan Langley examines July 2010's PlayStation Network debuts and continuing successes, including charts and leaderboard data, to find out which digital PSN titles for PlayStation 3 and PSP are faring well as 2010 progresses.]

While the Xbox Live Arcade began its Summer of Arcade and we analyzed the impressive results, the PlayStation Network kept it a little low key in comparison.

Along the way, we had some quality PSN releases like DeathSpank, Monkey Island 2 and Earthworm Jim, but the PlayStation Store's line-up wasn't driven by exclusive titles in the same way Microsoft's was during July 2010.

So, although we're lacking a little data, we're looking at the recent Leaderboard stats for some of these titles, checking out what was on sale, and analyzing what older titles have been selling like over the past month, as follows:

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of August 27

August 27, 2010 11:41 AM | Leigh Alexander

In a busy week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Digital Chocolate, Arkane Studios and many 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:

Arkane Studios: Senior AI Programmer
"We currently have a AAA unannounced title in development (PS3, Xbox 360 and PC) and are looking for a Senior AI Programmer to join our unique and talented team."

Digital Chocolate: Product Manager (Web and Platform Services)
"Inside Digital Chocolate, the San Mateo studio is the place where the magic of creation takes place. Our products are built on the cornerstones of quality, innovation and community. We hire the best and give them the freedom to learn and do their thing, and teamwork is the norm."

APB Lessons, Habbo, Cow Clicker Talks Added To GDC Online

August 27, 2010 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

Organizers of this October's GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) are rolling out more major new talks, including ex-Reatime Worlds exec Joshua Howard on 'self-inflicted wounds' in game creation, Sulka Haro on the $500 million Habbo Hotel economy, and Ian Bogost on his satirical Facebook title Cow Clicker.

The Austin, Texas based GDC Online conference is 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 already more than 80 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), a number of other notable talks are debuting:

Some of the newly announced highlights from notable sessions across the GDC Online Main Conference, which takes place from Wednesday October 6th to Friday October 8th, and for which 'early registration' passes are only available until Wednesday, are:

- In 'Self-Inflicted Wounds: When We Are Our Own Worst Enemy', U.S.-based ex-Realtime Worlds executive producer Joshua Howard (APB) will discuss "common management and organizational failures that leaders talk themselves into accepting, which almost always end up impacting a game's success." Along the way, the former Carbonated Games exec "will provide techniques that anyone can use if they find themselves on a project that has already made one of these mistakes."

Newgrounds Documentary Director Creates Flash Game To Promote Fundraising

August 27, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though director Nathan Kuruna has already managed to well exceed his goal of $12,000 in pledges for his documentary about Flash portal Newgrounds, I still think it's worth pointing out the game he created and released to the site to promote his fundraising efforts.

The little Flash game, Indie Jones, takes some obvious inspiration from Indiana Jones and the opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, featuring a fedora-wearing adventurer snatching up gems as he runs away from a giant, incoming boulder.

Kuruna says this is the first promotional tie-in video game for a project on donation-ware platform Kickstarter, and it's managed to pick up a lot of attention for the fund, what with it being featured on the front page of Newgrounds and Kickstarter's blog.

With all the money Kuruna's raised so far, he now has enough to edit more than a hundred hours of videos into a documentary about "Newgrounds and the online cultural trends it helped create and drive over the last decade or so", telling the story of "how the web became fun as well as functional and a tool for creative people of all kinds."

If you want to receive some of the pledge incentives from the project, like a DVD copy of the film or a personal tour of Newgrounds' office, you can still donate some money until the end of the month.

[Via Nobuooo, Kickstarter Blog]

Tale of Tales Releases Online Version Of Vanitas Interactive App

August 27, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Belgian indie studio Tale of Tales (The Path, The Graveyard) has updated its Vanitas iPhone app with "graphical enhancements" and released a free web version powered by Unity3D -- while the latter doesn't have tilt or multitouch support for obvious reasons, the developer says this version runs much smoother.

Originally commissioned for the Art History of Games symposium last February, the app features cello music from Rasputina's Zoe Keating and presents users with a wooden box, which is filled with selection of small objects they can interact with. Tale of Tales explains:

"Every time you open the box, you see three new objects. The different combinations form compositions that remind of 'Vanitas' -- or 'Memento Mori' -- paintings from the renaissance and baroque periods. Updated for the present day. And running on what is probably one of the most striking vanity symbols of our age."

With the Vanitas update/web release, the studio has also posted a video recording of its "Over Games" presentation given at the Art History of Games symposium. You can stream it here or download it from this page.

GameSetContest: Scott Pilgrim Giveaway Winners

August 27, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

A couple of weeks ago, we teamed up with video game art group i am 8-bit to give away a sweet collection of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World prizes: limited edition t-shirts designed by i am 8-bit, baseball caps, copies of the movie's soundtrack, iPhone skins, and theatrical one-sheets.

As those of you who jumped at the chance to win those goodies will recall, we simply asked readers to comment about their favorite video game allusions (real or even made up) from the Scott Pilgrim comics, film, or PSN/XBLA video game to enter the contest. It was pretty easy stuff, so we got a ton of entries!

Anyway, let's get to what you came here for -- our five randomly picked winners:

This Week In Video Game Criticism: Autonomy, Game Worlds, When Mechanics Trump Story

August 27, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us Ben Abraham picking out fascinating bloggers on player autonomy, building successful game worlds, and when game elements alter our perception of the game world.]

Just a quick one this week, as my country heads to an election and I spent all day at a polling booth shilling for a grassroots organization unaffiliated with any party. But that's neither here nor there; it's time for This Week In Video Game Criticism.

First up, and right from the very tail end of last week, Ashelia at Hellmode looks at her 'darker competitive side'. A thing I'd like to see more of: writing, analysis, and criticism of multiplayer gaming.

At The Last Metaphor, Benjamin Garratt writes about 'choices, entertainment, Pynchon' in a conversation with a friend. Garratt has an interesting back catalogue of posts you might also like to dip into, like say 'The Metaphysics of the Instance' or 'Spingtime for Helghan: the story of a Killzone clan'.

OneBigGame, Zoe Mode Releasing Chime For PC With 'Still Alive'

August 26, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Video game industry charity/publisher OneBigGame and developer Zoe Mode will debut a Windows PC edition of Chime, its music-based puzzler originally released on Xbox Live Arcade, at the end of this summer.

Along with its already impressive soundtrack with songs from artists like Philip Glass, Moby, and Orbital's Paul Hartnoll, the PC release of Chime, which is slated to be digitally distributed on Steam, will include an exclusive "Still Alive" track from Valve's Portal.

OneBigGame will take five percent of Chime's PC royalties and put those funds toward helping "solve problems afflicting children around the world", donating to charity partners like Save the Children and Starlight Children's Foundation.

"The game has proven to be a great fund-raiser, a quality game in its own right and possibly the basis for a unique, new franchise for Zoe Mode beyond our exclusivity period," says OneBigGame director Martin de Ronde.

He adds, "The PC version of the game features all the great tracks from the original version and now also offers fans of Chime and fans of the original Portal soundtrack the opportunity to sample this song in Chime’s unique remixing game mechanics."

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