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Archive For September, 2010

Hard Corps: Uprising Starts Off Right With Rad Anime Intro

September 30, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

While the absence of shirtless men and the Contra name in its title has left series fans worried, Hard Corps: Uprising will likely win over a lot of gamers with this awesome anime intro (and even more awesome music!).

It's probably unreasonable to expect a lot of these cutscenes scattered throughout a downloadable game, but I'm hoping there's more of this in Hard Corps! Motorcycle shootouts, a samurai running through the forest, dudes riding on a missile to reach the top of a skyscraper, and a guy whose hair extends well-beyond a foot of his face -- what's not to love?

For those who want to watch actual gameplay, GameVideos has also posted a level and boss fight from Hard Corps: Uprising, which you can check after the post break. Konami plans to release the Arc Systems Works-developed run and gun game on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network some time this Winter.

Penny Arcade Promotes Comic Jumper With Rob Liefeld-inspired Art

September 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

This is probably one of the best creative and appropriate marketing gimmicks I've seen in a while, though it's not as cute as hiring a white puppy. Indie studio Twisted Pixel Games (The Maw, 'Splosion Man), drafted the webcomic kings at Penny Arcade to produce some artwork for its upcoming Xbox Live Arcade sidescroller Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley.

It works because the beat'em-up's concept is that players travel through different comic books, each with their own visual styles (e.g. Manga, Fantasy, Silver Age). Penny Arcade continued the theme with a cover and single-page comic featuring Captain Smiley and presented in Rob Liefeld's early 90s style of strangely proportioned characters.

It's an obvious gag, but my favorite part of the comic is the superhero team's name: BloodGroup. As someone who read and owned too many copies of Bloodstrike, Youngblood, and Bloodwulf (though I never bought Bloodpool or Blood Legacy), I couldn't help but appreciate this nod to the money and time I wasted on this crap.

Penny Arcade is giving away a one-of-a-kind Xbox 360 featuring the comic and cover artwork. All you need to do to win it is send in a photo of yourself in your best Rob Liefeld pose. Just make sure to submit your entry by tonight!

Opinion: The Power of Mystery - Creating That 'Just One More' Feeling

September 30, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[In this editorial, originally printed in Game Developer magazine's September 2010 issue, editor-in-chief Brandon Sheffield discusses the importance of mystery in games, and how the unknown gives players the urge to see what lies around the corner].

“Nothing is so frightening as what’s behind the closed door. The audience holds its breath along with the protagonist as she/he (more often she) approaches that door.” So writes Stephen King in his non-fiction book on horror, Danse Macabre.

King was not the first to make this point, nor will he be the last—with the right setting, the closed door, with all its possibilities, can be a frightening thing. Contrast that with an open door with light streaming through it, a traditional symbol of hope.

But the closed door nags at you—don’t you want to know what’s on the other side? The real power of the closed door is the mystery behind it. So long as it’s closed, the possibilities remain infinite.

That constant barrage of mystery is incredibly enticing to players, and is often directly responsible for that “just one more ...” feeling that many games aspire to.

You're F***ing Out, Kenny Powers' iOS Game Is F***ing In

September 30, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Calling attention to the return of new Eastbound and Down episodes -- and the return of the show's coke-snorting, hubristic star Kenny Powers to professional baseball, albeit on a Mexican team -- HBO has released a free Kenny Powers’ Home Run Fiesta: Deep Inside Mexico app for iPhones and iPads.

It's a home run competition in which players face off against Kenny Powers in five levels, trying to knock his pitches out the park while suffering his insults and antics. The game also features "retro 8-bit color graphics", which seems like an arbitrary choice for its visual design, but I guess it's what's in now.

Be warned that you'll need to be at least seventeen years old to download the app, as it has frequent and/or intense mature/suggestive themes, as well as infrequent and/or mild sexual contact/nudity, alcohol/tobacco/drug use or references, realistic violence, simulated gambling, profanity/crude humor, and cartoon/fantasy violence.

[Via Kotaku]

Okamiden Spokespuppy Is Super Cute

September 30, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Not confident that its blocky 3D in-game model for Okamiden's Chibiterasu would convey the character's cuteness, Capcom enlisted the help of this super adorable puppy to play the celestial wolf pup at promotional events and in the DS game's Japanese commercial.

His name is Moran-chan (which immediately calls to mind this image), and he appears in this brief advertisement with Japanese idol and actress Kitano Kii, whose song "Hanataba" plays in the background. I'm of the opinion that this spot features too much of Kii and not enough Moran-chan. Maybe too much of Okamiden, too.

Perhaps if Capcom had found an older and just-as-cute dog to play the role of Amaterasu, the full-grown wolf in the original Okami, that title would have received the attention it deserved from gamers on PS2 and Wii?

Hey You Guys: Remake For Datasoft's Goonies Released

September 30, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Yes, another new Goonies game to celebrate the cult film's 25th anniversary this year! Unlike the completely new The Goonies 'R' Good Enough release for MSX that Kralizec released with its own cartridge and packaging, this title is a PC remake of Datasoft's ZX/C64/CPC/Atari/pple game, available to download for free.

While its based on the same material, this remake plays nothing like Konami's NES/MSX releases that more people are probably familiar with. In this version, players control two members from the Goonies gang, solving puzzles to reach the exit to the next screen. Each scene is based on sets from The Goonies film.

The remake, which was produced by Luis Barrachina and David Vassart (with Steve Fenton and Mihaly Horvath contributing to the soundtrack), features new graphics, music, and more. You can grab the full game or its demo here.

This Week In Video Game Criticism: Socrates, Cyborgs, And Game Worlds

September 30, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Ben Abraham, including gaming cyborgs, examples from Socrates, and lessons from Populous.]

Time to wade through the latest This Week in Video Game Criticism, now in rapidfire-mode since there’s so much to get through. Firstly, Fraser Allison at Red Kings Dream writes about ‘A grammar of games’.

Next, Tom Francis writing for PC Gamer informs us of some Spade related violence in Fallout 3’s Point Lookout DLC. That’s two weeks in a row someone’s mentioned Point Lookout. Elsewhere, Francis has been reflecting upon what his efforts with programming his Gunpoint AI game have taught him:

"It’s easy to code what you want. But you don’t really know what you want until you’ve tried to explain it to a very, very stupid person. That was Socrates’ thing, in fact: he acted like an idiot to make people explain themselves to him on the most basic level, which usually revealed they didn’t truly understand their own beliefs."

Jim Rossignol, writing for his own blog about games, presents us with a ‘Prosthetic Imagination’ – attach game to brain for some cyborg imagination: "Videogames are the reason I could be considered a cyborg. Not in the sense that I have had parts of my physical body taken over by electronic or mechanical systems, but in the sense that I often have had my imagination taken over by electronic and mechanical systems."

WayForward, Virt Release Shantae: Risky’s Revenge Soundtrack

September 29, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

To promote the release of Shantae: Risky’s Revenge on Nintendo's unappreciated DSiWare platform next Monday, Wayforward Technologies has put made the game's original soundtrack available to download. You can grab all 29 tracks for free or pay what you think the album is worth.

If you're unfamiliar with Risky’s Revenge, it's the sequel to WayForward's cult classic GBC platformer Shantae. This follow-up once again stars the titular purple-haired half genie, who uses her powers to transform into different animals (e.g. elephant monkey) and fight her arch-enemy, a female pirate named Risky Boots.

The series' music is composed by noted chiptune musician Jake "Virt" Kaufman, Contra 4 and Red Faction: Guerrilla. In case you missed out on it, he's also had the soundtrack from the original Shantae posted on his website, too!

New Release Date, Trailer For Explosionade

September 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Mommy's Best Games (Weapon of Choice, Shoot 1UP) uploaded this first trailer for Explosionade, its sidescrolling run-and-gun title releasing on Xbox Live Indie Games next Monday -- it was supposed to come out last Saturday, but the studio delayed it slightly to fix a crash bug, rebalance gameplay, and attend to other issues.

In the Metal Slug-esque title, you pilot a prototype mech codenamed GRenaDOS into subterranean strongholds and blow up aliens. Explosionade features destructible environments, two-player co-op, online leaderboards, and challenge-room style gameplay with a zoom function that allows you to get a close-up look at the action (or zoom out to see the entire room).

Mommy's Best Games will release this XBLIG exclusive for 80 Microsoft Points. Don't forget that sales for Explosionade will help fund the development of the studio's other project, Grapple Buggy!

[Via GamerBytes]

Interview: Popcap's Johnston On Plants Vs. Zombies' Tricky XBLA Shift

September 29, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[PopCap senior producer Matt Johnston tells our own Kyle Orland about the game design intricacies of switching Plants Vs. Zombies -- "a game designed around mouse clicks" -- to Xbox Live Arcade.]

The tremendously successful 'tower defense' hybrid Plants vs. Zombies isn’t the first PopCap game to make the transition from the PC to Xbox Live Arcade.

But while both Peggle and Zuma had control schemes that lent themselves naturally to an analog control stick, senior producer Matt Johnston says the team behind the Xbox 360 version of Plants vs. Zombies ran into some trouble converting the mouse-centric game to the Xbox 360.

“Taking this particular game, a game designed around mouse clicks, and bringing it over to the game pad was something I was worried about at the beginning of the process,” Johnston told us as part of an in-depth interview on the George Fan-designed game's console conversion.

One problem in particular was collecting the game’s falling, sun-based currency, a process that’s as simple as clicking the mouse in the PC version but felt a bit onerous when guiding an on-screen cursor with an analog stick on the Xbox 360.

After an internal debate, the team decided to added a generous sun-magnetism to the cursor, to make the whole process a bit easier. “Collecting sun is important, but we don’t want to make the game feel like work, especially on the console,” Johnston said. “Where a PC gamer may tolerate that a little bit more or consider that to be a little bit more interesting part of the game play, a console player may be a little bit more casual.”

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