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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 September, 2010

Halfbrick's Age Of Zombies Shambles To iDevices

September 28, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Now that iPhone gamers have been introduced to Barry Steakfries through his run'n gun, time-travelling adventures in Monster Dash, Aussie studio Halfbrick is bringing the shotgun-wielding hero's first game, Age of Zombies for PSP Minis, to the App Store.

In this twin-stick (virtual, of course) shooter, Barry fights all sorts of zombies -- cavemen, mummies, ninjas, and even T-Rexes -- in several different time periods as he tries to stop the evil Professor Brains and his plot to destroy mankind.

The iPad/iPhone edition of Age of Zombies features a story mode with five worlds (multiple levels in each), a Survival mode, global leaderboards, updated graphics, new menus, touch-specific controls, tutorials, and more. The iOS port will release some time next month.

Defying Design: Dead Lines Rising

September 28, 2010 12:00 AM |

['Defying Design' is a bi-weekly GameSetWatch-exclusive column by Jeffrey Matulef analyzing gaming conventions and the pros and cons of breaking them. This week's column explores time limits and how they can enhance or detract from a title.]

As somebody who's frequently late to everything and spends most nights wondering where the day went, it often gets my ire when a game imposes a restrictive time limit. Take The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, for example. That game operates on a three day cycle where most of your progress gets erased when you reset to dawn of the first day.

While I could appreciate its unique twist on familiar tropes and it its lively world with NPCs going about their tasks, I always found the stress and repetition inherent in its time structure prevented me from loving the game the way I have the rest of  the series.

So it's surprising that I loved the time limit in Capcom and Blue Castle's recently released XBLA exclusive prequel Dead Rising: Case Zero. There are several reasons, but ultimately the time limit complimented Case Zero's design, whereas in Majora's Mask it ran counter to them.

To begin, Dead Rising: Case Zero's premise is predicated on feelings of being lost and panic. You play as Chuck Greene, a father who's daughter Katey has been infected by a zombie virus and requires medical treatment every 12 hours to prevent zombification. With his truck stolen -- along with Katey's med supply with it -- Chuck needs to find a cure and a ride before government soldiers arrive to eliminate any remaining infected, including little Katey.

The Path, Von Sottendorff Take Home hóPlay Awards

September 27, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Organizers for the hóPlay International Video Game Festival, a new Spanish event that seeks to present and promote games that "stand out for their originality, creativeness, and innovation" announced the winners of its indie game competition.

Tale of Tales' Little Red Riding Hood-inspired horror/adventure game The Path and locally developed puzzle-platformer Los Delirios De Von Sottendorff Y Su Mente Cuadriculada (The Delusions of Von Sottendorff And Her Grid Mind) both won two awards each -- winners took home €6,000, or $8,082, for each award.

The full list of award winners follows:

  • Best Basque video-game: The Delusions of Von Sottendorff And Her Grid Mind by Delirium Studios - Bilbao, Spain
  • Special audience prize: iBasket by Ideateca - Bilbao, Spain (This award was chosen by the audience of hóPlay, which has had the opportunity to evaluate the games presented in the competition)
  • Best original idea: The Delusions of Von Sottendorff And Her Grid Mind by Delirium Studios - Bilbao, Spain
  • Best creative design: The Path by Tale of Tales - Gent, Belgium
  • Best sound/ music: The Path by Tale of Tales - Gent, Belgium
  • Best playability: MotorHeat by Milkstone Studios - de Siero, Asturias
The show's organizers also selected winners for its Xbox 360 Internship on Artistic Investigation awards: Aizpea Lasa (first, €1,500), Erik Morros Paja (second, €1,000), and Alain Astola (third, €500).

"We're very proud of these awards," said Tale of Tales' Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn. "Our work is often praised for its experimental nature and its artistic depth, and somewhat marginalized because of this.

They continued, "But at hóPLAY, The Path won for its design and its sound without any reservations. This makes us proud and very hopeful for a future in which artistic achievement is rewarded as a natural aspect of videogame creation."

You can watch trailers for all of the winners after the break:

Vlambeer Shows Off Radical Fishing Game With Chainsaws, Explosions

September 27, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Recently founded Dutch indie studio Vlambeer (made up of Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman) has posted this bloody trailer for Radical Fishing, a "fishing simulation game" that's nothing like traditional sims (though it bears some resemblance to the Legend of Zelda's fishing/salvage arm minigames).

In Radical Fishing, players drop their hook into the ocean, lowering it as deep as possible, pulling back fish/jellyfish/sharks to the surface, then throwing them into air to watch them explode. Players can grab treasure and earn money as they progress, and spend that on upgrades (e.g. a chainsaw at the end of your line),

Vlambeer is looking for someone to sponsor Radical Fishing before it releases the Flash game, so one of you with deep pockets (or one of you working at a company with deep pockets) should get on that.

[Via IndieGames.com]

GDC 2011 Announces Summit Line-Up, Calls For Submissions

September 27, 2010 1:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Just as the official GDC website gets a retro-future makeover for the twenty-fifth anniversary next February, we're debuting new Summits and a call for submissions for all seven of them. Hopefully some GSW readers can step up and submit, we'd love to see your proposals.]

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced additional Summits for GDC 2011, including a new GDC Smartphone Summit and the return of the Social & Online Games Summit. The organizers have also opened up a call for Summit lecture submissions until October 14th.

The GDC Summits take place Monday, February 28th and Tuesday, March 1st, 2011, the first two days of the historic 25th annual Game Developers Conference. They offer deep-dive content on a variety of notable game industry topics, ahead of the main conference which runs Wednesday, March 2nd through Friday, March 4th.

This year, the conference is introducing the GDC Smartphone Summit, which brings top developers from around the world to share knowledge and concrete takeaways on the smartphone and related platforms.

These include breakout game platforms like Apple's iPhone, the iPad, Android OS phones and tablets, Blackberry and a variety of other notable handheld devices.

The summits also include the vibrant Social & Online Games Summit, with a packed agenda devoted to social network games, free-to-play web titles, and microtransaction-powered online games.

2011's GDC will also see the return of the signature Independent Games Summit, highlighting the top indie game creators and lessons. the Summit will run as part of the Independent Games Festival at the show.

Analysis: Is Microsoft Putting Halo At Risk?

September 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[What's the right balance between quality and release spacing for the Halo franchise, pre- and post-Bungie? Our own editor-at-large Chris Morris examines how other franchises have been affected by more regular iteration.]

Within four days of its release, fans spend the equivalent of over 2,300 man-years playing Halo: Reach. While Bungie’s sendoff to its most famous franchise is certainly a resounding success, though, the long-term fate of Halo is starting to become more questionable.

On Wednesday, Microsoft corporate VP Phil Spencer told IGN that the company is looking to increase the frequency of Halo releases.

While he stopped short of giving a timetable, he did note that Microsoft wasn’t thrilled with the current lag between games.

"There's no explicit strategy that says we're to ship a Halo game every year,” he said. “I will say I think one Halo game every three years - which was kind of our old cadence – is probably not frequent enough."

That’s the sort of statement that thrills investors and, initially, fans of the game. And there’s plenty of reason for that.

Gravity Lander Embarks To iPhone/Android, Browsers

September 27, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Art collective Büro Destruct has released Gravity Lander, a free and addictive game developed for Pro Helvetia's Game Culture program, which is dedicated towards "drawing attention to the social, economic, and aesthetic aspects of computer games and exploring the characteristics of the genre as a new art form".

Available online and for iPhone (Android version coming soon), Gravity Lander is similar to Petri Purho's Cut It in that you must land an object (a red rocketship in this case) on a platform after clearing all the obstacles in your way, except here you must make sure the craft is right-side-up at the end.

You also have more tools at your disposal here than in Cut It, as you can vaporize blocks, alter gravity, and use rocket boosts. Combining those tools will help you land the spacecraft safely and ensure your three cosmonauts will be able to get back home.

While Gravity Lander is free, you can buy a song from the game's soundtrack (composed by Balduin) for $0.99 here.

Street Fighter II Glitch Guide

September 27, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though the game debuted nearly 20 years ago and has received many sequels/spin-offs since, Street Fighter II still has a lot of fans, as evidenced by the combo/match videos and tournaments that still pop up for the title.

If you're one of those devotees still tinkering around with Street Fighter II, or if you just want an explanation for those strange glitches you remember seeing in the game back in the day, you should definitely check out ComboVid's new Glitch Handbook: Street Fighter II Arcade page.

The online resource offers screenshots, videos, and directions for pulling off different glitches in the fighting game, like the Red Hadouken (which Capcom eventually allowed players to execute on command), the Float Glitch, Guile's "Handcuffs", Invisible Dhalsim (pre-Yoga Teleport, video above), and more.

ComboVid says this is just the first of what will be "a series of comprehensive resource articles concisely documenting fighting game glitches", so look forward to more of these!

[Via @Fighters_Gen]

Spinning Maze Game: Rotating Agent Koko

September 27, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

After working on the title on and off for two years, indie developer Rakugaki-Otoko has released Rotating Agent Koko (or RotAKoko), an adorable Cameltry-esque exploration/maze game with SNES-style graphics and a wonderful soundtrack.

In Rotating Agent Koko, players guide Koko through spinning mazes filled with coins, charming backgrounds/elements (e.g. mustachioed snowmen), and bosses. There's a delightfully strange story, too, which players can enjoy through the peculiar introduction and cutscenes:

"Somewhere in our dimension, an all-knowing being oversees the order of things. There are many dimensions, but ours is his favorite. New dimensions are being created all the time, and this has caused a problem: there are too many dimensions in existence! The being asks his best and most capable agent to go out and 'delete' several of the dimensions to ease the cosmic stress they're creating.

Take control of the snazzily dressed agent of God, Koko, and rotate your way through the different dimensions to find the perfect place to trigger the deletion! But be warned, some dimensions have powerful entities in them that do not want to be deleted! Please Survive!"

You can download and play Rotating Agent Koko for Windows PC here. Mind the motion sickness/epilepsy warning, though! (it's a cute warning screen, just like everything else in the game)

[Via TIGForums]

GameSetNetwork: Best Of The Week

September 27, 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 once again 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 includes a number of notable pieces, including an interview with Crytek's Cevat Yerli, a discussion of psychology and game development, plus a postmortem of Dejobaan's Aaaaaa!, a chat with Erik Wolpaw about Portal 2, and a comparison of core and social game mechanics.

- Besides a host of GSW-reprinted analysis and interviews, other top Gamasutra news interviews you haven't seen include interview with Atari GO head Thom Kozik, plus PopCap's James Gwertzman on launching its casual portfolio in the East and a chat with Grasshopper's Suda41 on Digital Reality co-production Sine Mora.

- Also worth noting from Gamasutra: an interview with Steve Gaynor on the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2, analysis on regular iteration of game franchises, a chat to ex-Google exec Mark DeLoura, plus a defense of cloud gaming, and a look at what's being done with older games in today's market.

- The highlights from Gamasutra's Expert Blogs see industry notables write about diverse topics, including Facebook's new game policies, Kinect concerns, and the importance of randomness -- and Gamasutra's Member Blogs highlights include the pacing of narratives, comparisons between games and film, and the problems with the mobile game marketplace.

- Educational site GameCareerGuide's latest features include a postmortem of IGF Student Showcase-honored title Igneous, plus a game narrative review for Atlus' Persona 4.

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