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Archive For August, 2010

One-button Dungeon Crawler Glorg Completed, Needs Sponsor

August 26, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Remember Glorg, that Diablo-esque one-button dungeon crawler created for the Gamma IV showcase? Martin Jonasson (Grapefrukt Games) announced that he's added more meat to the game and finished the project, and that he's now looking for a sponsor (it should appear on Flash Game License soon).

Glorg still plays with only one button, but Jonasson has packed in 60 unique items, eleven floors of procedurally generated dungeons, and a soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky (Canabalt, Gravity Hook). He also commissioned some awesome boxart from Jonas Akerlund, which you can see below.

All the game needs now is a sponsor to pick it up so we can all play it!

Game Time With Mister Raroo: Appreciating the Fineness of Print

August 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Mister Raroo

Game Time With Mister Raroo logo[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo reflects upon how reading information in print is an entirely unique experience that can’t be replicated in any other way. Along the way he touches upon the special qualities that make the best print publications so great, the differences between publishing in print and electronic formats, and how his unsuccessful attempt to join Electronic Gaming Monthly’s staff led him to being the family man he is today.]

Reach Out and Touch Me

Perhaps I’m more than a little biased since I work as a librarian, but I think the experience of reading physical materials like books and magazines cannot be replicated in any other fashion. There is something about the tactile interaction that comes with holding a book or magazine in your hands that is irreplaceable with any electronic device. The look, the physicality, and even the smell of print materials are all genuinely unique and wonderful. Admittedly, the advent of many electronic sources of information has altered my overall reading habits, but that doesn’t mean I’m anywhere ready to go completely paperless.

The past half decade or so was a rough time for many video game publications, and watching some of my favorite magazines drop by the wayside one after another has been difficult. However, considering the type of content that was the large draw of most game magazines, specifically video game previews and reviews, it’s no surprise they weren’t able to compete with the instantaneous and pertinent nature of online sources. The way information is being disseminated and accessed has changed drastically, and it makes sense that things would be shaken up in the print industry.

Of course, for those of us who love our print publications, we know there has always been much more to their appeal than the face value of their content. One of my all-time favorite video game magazines is GMR, which despite being an exclusive publication for retail chain Electronics Boutique, demonstrated an unexpected depth beyond what one would initially expect given its corporate backing. The magazine’s staff members were not a bunch of commercial bozos, but rather individuals who as a collective had a pretty impressive games journalism pedigree. I always felt I had a connection and understanding of what each writer brought to the table.

GMR had an inviting layout, was jam-packed with material, and truly seemed to be written “for gamers, by gamers.” GMR featured content well beyond the aforementioned reviews and previews, providing information and ideas that weren’t available elsewhere. And even in the case of reviews, it was always a pleasure to read the thoughts of the writers, even if the games had already been on store shelves for weeks by the time the magazine issues arrived in my mailbox. Still, what I liked most about GMR, or any other quality game publication for that matter, is that as a whole, it always delivered a compact, portable, diverse, and fun bundle of information about video games.

In other words, what makes the best video game publication great is not necessarily one specific element, but the sum of its parts. For GMR, my enjoyment stemmed not only from engaging content like James Mielke’s “My Life in Vana’diel” column, but from the fact that all of its components worked together so as to make an engaging final product. I knew that from beginning to end there was would always be something well worth my time in the magazine. And, even though much of the same content (including Mielke’s column) eventually found its way online after the magazine closed up shop, reading it was just never the same as it was when it was in print format.

Best of FingerGaming: From Ghosts'n Goblins to iShoot 2

August 26, 2010 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Every week, we sum up sister iPhone and iPad site FingerGaming's top news and reviews for Apple's nascent -- and increasingly exciting -- portable game platforms, as written by editor in chief Danny Cowan and authors Tucker Dean, Jason Johnson, and Ryan Hibbeler.]

This week, FingerGaming covers Capcom's Ghosts'n Goblins: Gold Knights 2, Cash Cab: Las Vegas and iShoot 2, among other notable debuts.

Also within are the lists for top-grossing, most-downloaded free and paid Apps from Apple's store, as well as reviews for Grokion and The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition.

Here are the top stories from the last seven days:

- Review: The Manhole - Masterpiece Edition
"Exploration carries the ominous feeling that you're walking in circles. The white rabbit's abode consists of a scant amount of rooms interconnected by ladders, tunnels, and halls leading to nowhere."

- iShoot 2 Now Available for iPhone and iPad
"Ethan Nicholas was one of the first independent developers to strike it rich in the App Store with his million-selling iShoot. This week brings the release of iShoot 2, a substantially upgraded sequel for the iPhone and iPad."

- Capcom Launches Ghosts n Goblins: Gold Knights 2 and Cash Cab: Las Vegas
"Capcom has expanded its App Store catalog with a pair of sequels in its Ghosts n Goblins platformer series and its Cash Cab trivia franchise."

Virtual On Force's 'Fetish Unlock Code'

August 26, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Sega has abandoned subtlety for its upcoming Xbox 360 port of Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Force in favor of some hilarious and pretty creepy fan service. The company has announced that gamers who put in a pre-order for the robot-fighting title will receive a "Fetish Unlock Code".

As you can see in the image above, the code allows you to increase the chest and butt size of "female" robots (Fei-Yen and Angelan), a feature that mecha fetishists will likely rejoice over while everyone else just shakes their heads. Shouldn't robot builders place a higher priority on ensuring their mechas are smaller targets during battles?

Sega will release Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Force for Xbox 360 in Japan this December. So far, the publisher hasn't announced plans to bring the port or its Fetish Unlock Code to North America.

[Via Mecha Damashii, Game Watch]

Dodonpachi Resurrection, R-Type Shoot Up the App Store

August 26, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

This week marks the release of two awesome shoot'em ups to the App Store: Cave's vertical-scrolling bullet hell title Dodonpachi Resurrection, and Irem's horizontal-scrolling classic R-Type. Both arcade conversions are available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (though Dodonpachi requires an iPhone 4/3GS, and a 3rd gen iPod Touch).

Priced at $1.99, R-Type offers three control options: tilt, touch, and virtual directional pad (which tilts and slightly shrinks the gameplay screen to give it an arcade cabinet look). It also features an auto-fire option and a mode with unlimited lives to make the infamously difficult game a bit more approachable to newcomers.

Dodonpachi Resurrection is a bit more expensive with a launch price of $4.99 (rising to $8.99 next week). As covered before, it offers iPhone and Arcade modes, a Practice mode, a new SM Scoring System, new music by Kenichi Maeyamada and Shoichiro Hirata, leaderboards, achievements, and more.

So long as you're splurging on new iOS games, maybe you'll also want to pick up Sega's Phantasy Star II port ($2.99), too?

Rockman Online Trailer: Year 20XX Isn't Looking So Hot

August 26, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

This latest Rockman Online trailer doesn't spend any time showing the 3D MMO's actual gameplay, but its post-apocalyptic, Akira-esque vision of Mega Man's world really makes us wish Capcom and Neowiz would bring this game here (or at least an anime with this style/tone). Unfortunate, this is only releasing in South Korea and likely other Asian markets for now.

Those of you who've managed to follow the Mega Man franchise and its 100 billion releases will notice that this video indicates a crossover between the Classic and X series, mixing characters like Classic Mega Man, Proto Man, Bass, Iris, Alia, and Signa.

We're sure to learn more about how the two series tie together, and see some gameplay of the sidescrolling 3D MMO (think Mega Man X8 or Maverick Hunter X) as Rockman Online closed beta and eventual launch in South Korea approaches.

[Via Protodude]

Interview: Ghost Trick's Shu Takumi On Crafting Mysteries And Strong Characters

August 26, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Really enjoyed this Brandon Sheffield interview with Capcom's Shu Takumi (Ace Attorney) -- in which he shares his inspiration for writing mystery-based games, the process behind developing relatable characters, and the troubles and triumphs facing the intriguing Ghost Trick.]

Mystery-based games are a rare occurrence; even rarer are games that succeed in creating interesting characters and placing them into an equally engaging tale. Capcom's Ace Attorney series is lauded for doing just that, and the upcoming Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, led by Ace Attorney creator Shu Takumi, hopes to earn the same success.

Ghost Trick is a point and click game for Nintendo DS that has players take on the role of a murder victim who can use his ghost to interact with the environment and protect others from sharing his fate.

Due in North America in Winter 2010, the game combines the quirky characters and mystery overtones of the Ace Attorney series with a unique visual style and real time adventure game mechanics.

Gamasutra sat down with Capcom's Shu Takumi to discuss his inspiration for writing mystery-based games, the process behind developing relatable characters, how to make the most out of limited hardware, and the troubles and triumphs facing Ghost Trick.

Inspiration And Writing

Let’s start with a very simple question: Where do you get the inspiration for the games that you do? They are not along the standard lines of what we see nowadays.

Shu Takumi: When I was younger, I liked reading mysteries, so mysteries have always been a large part of my life. One of the reasons I joined a game company like Capcom is because I wanted to make a mystery game.

Maybe it’s not so much that I’m different and unique, maybe it’s just that there are so few people that focus on pure mystery. Mystery stories and mystery novels are very interesting and unique on their own; they are a bit unusual in their own sense, so it’s not me, per se, it’s the number of mystery writers in the games industry.

Help Fund Babycastles' Indie Arcade In Manhattan

August 25, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

New York City's Babycastles, the Ridgewood indie games arcade once described by Phil Fish (Fez) as the "CBGBs of videogames", hopes to expand with a Manhattan location, renting a spot next to Grand Central for three months starting this October.

At this new branch, Babycastles intends to work with all-ages music listing publication Showpaper to host six two-week exhibitions of artists and video games, leaving the space open during the day as an art gallery and arcade (and as a music concert and games event area in the evenings).

The indie arcade already has a number of awesome partners lined up for organizing exhibitions and events: Play Power, the Experimental Gameplay Project, Gaijin Games (Bit.Trip series), Pixeljam (Cream Wolf, Dino Run), Attract Mode, and the NYU Game Center.

To make this all happen, though, Babycastles needs to raise $6,000 in the next 39 days. Organizers for the indie arcade have launched a fund at donation-ware platform Kickstarter, promising lots of indie rewards for contributors.

Some of the incentives include stickers, Babycastles/Flixel t-shirts, temporary tattoos, download codes for indie PC and iPhone/iPad games (e.g. Osmos, Canabalt), video game zines (e.g. Kill Screen, Fort90Zine), DVDs from 2 Player Production, We Love Katamari copies signed by Keita Takahashi, and more!

You can pledge some cash to help Babycastles open a Manhattan indie games arcade here.

[Via Motherboard]

Monaco's PAX Tournament Prize: Bags Of (fake) Diamonds

August 25, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

I thought Andy Schatz was nuts when he posted photos of his planned tournament prizes for his heist game Monaco at next week's PAX: bags of diamonds!

As it turns out, though, he didn't blow all that 2010 IGF grand prize award money on the gems; each pouch actually includes 10 pieces of cubic zirconia, which the developer says are "roughly equivalent (and virtually indistinguishable from 1 carat diamonds."

While not nearly as impressive, it fits with Monaco's theme perfectly. Schatz plans to give away at least 50 of the bags to PAX attendees who play tournaments for the top-down, co-op game are and are able to make it out alive with the highest score.

[Via Bytejacker]

[UPDATE: Andy pops up in the comments to correct us on pricing, since we originally claimed he was giving away $1500 of zirconia: "While it would be nice if each bag were valued at 30 dollars, it's not true. :) I currently have 400 1ct pieces in my possession, the whole load of which is valued at $94. :) That said, a single diamond of equivalent size and quality would run you about $1000, and nobody but a diamond expert can tell the difference between the two."]

GDC Online Announces Keynote From FrontierVille's Reynolds

August 25, 2010 1:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Zynga's Brian Reynolds, being a game biz veteran, may be someone who can bridge any imagined gap between pure metrics and game design -- and here's info on his keynote on this subject at my colleagues' GDC Online event in a few weeks.]

GDC Online organizers have confirmed industry veteran and Zynga chief game designer Brian Reynolds to discuss smash hit title FrontierVille and the future of social game design in a keynote at October's show in Austin.

In his keynote address, 'Bears and Snakes! The Wild Frontier of Social Game Design,' Reynolds will explain how his Facebook title FrontierVille "treads new territory" by combining the classic techniques of traditional game design with the social gaming expertise that Zynga has gained from their FarmVille and Mafia Wars titles.

Reynolds, whose career has spanned more than 20 years with companies such as Firaxis and Big Huge Games, and who has co-created titles including Civilization II, Alpha Centauri and Rise of Nations, will also confront the challenges of taking familiar social game models and making them more entertaining for gamers and non-gamers.

With the massive gains and rapid progress of the social game space, Reynolds will offer his take on why games like FrontierVille -- which currently has 30 million monthly unique users on Facebook alone, according to Appdata.com -- are only the first step towards other exciting opportunities for the video game medium.

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