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Archive For September, 2010

3D Dot Game Heroes Update Adds LBP's Sackboy

September 24, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Media Molecule is usually the one bringing other companies' characters into its game with LittleBigPlanet DLC, but Atlus has turned the tables to add the British studio's iconic Sackboy as a playable character in 3D Dot Game Heroes.

Of course, you could have created Sackboy yourself as a playable character in the throwback PS3 RPG's 3D sprite editor, but now the less artistically inclined (and lazy) can drop him into the Kingdom of Dotnia without any extra work.

Atlus has added several other noteworthy items in its Sackboy update: 50 fan/staff-created characters from the "Hall of Heroes" character-sharing hub, the ability to carry over certain swords in New Game+, adjustments for completion times in the Dash Circuit mini game, and a bug fix restoring loading art images.

You can download Sackboy and the update for free the next time you load up 3D Dot Game Heroes!

Curve Sends Out Volatile Explodemon Trailer

September 24, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

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Independent developer Curve Studios (Buzz! games) posted this first trailer for Explodemon, its "explosive homage to SNES-era platformers mixed with a modern physics-puzzle twist". Here, you'll see the combustible hero using his powers to not just blow up enemies, but to rocket jump and solve puzzles.

The sidescrolling, 'Splosion Man-esque action game was initially slated to have WiiWare and PSP editions, but Curve decided it will focus on releasing Explodemon for PlayStation 3 (via PSN) some time late this year, and then consider devoting resources to other versions.

Column: The Blue Key: On Legacy

September 24, 2010 12:00 AM |

papermario.jpg[“The Blue Key” is a bi-weekly GameSetWatch exclusive column from Connor Cleary that explores the wide arena of gamer culture – where it's been, where it is now, and where it might be going. This week, he discusses the strengths and weaknesses of games that have a lofty title to live up to, and the emotional impact these games can have on gamers.]

Your shiny game mag of choice shows up in your mailbox, you flip through and find a preview for, let's say, Zelda: The Skyward Sword. Your brain quickly skims through the hours and hours that you've spent in your lifetime playing various other Zelda games. Understandably, you become giddy with anticipation.

What is it about a new installment from a beloved series that makes our hearts beat a little faster? That makes us feel like a little kid again, running down to the game store with a pre-order receipt and butterflies in our stomach? There are many legacies in the video game world, some have retained their status as juggernauts, while some have fallen from grace and continue to limp along in the periphery. But in either case, we often still feel a surge of emotional nostalgia when we hear about a new title from one of these legacy series.

But as much as a legacy title can be a huge cash-cow for developers, it must also be handled with care. Because of gamers' highly emotional attachment, a disappointing iteration can cause gamers to become extremely bitter, as if the developer has just profaned a sacred memory. In other words, its greatest strength – the emotional attachment of gamers – is also its greatest potential weakness.

This poses an interesting challenge for developers. They must find a way to keep a series interesting and original, while simultaneously remaining true to the series' traditions. If the new installments lack any innovation gamers might feel ripped off, like the same game was thrown in a new package and sold to them a second time. On the other hand, if the studio strays too far from tradition they risk losing the essential elements of nostalgia and familiarity.

Giant Robot Hosting Come Out & Play Weekend In San Francisco

September 23, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

After five years of running the street games event in New York City, organizers for Come Out & Play are bringing the festival to San Francisco! From October 22-24, the Giant Robot store in San Francisco will host what it promises are "some of the best games and game designers from the Come Out & Play Festival."

The free weekend "mini-festival" will include 11 games, which will be played through the streets of Haight-Ashbury, The Panhandle, and Golden Gate Park. There will also be a pinata making session (used when playing Pigeon Pinata Pummel later) and picnics.

The featured games include previous Come Out & Play favorites like Circle Rules Football ("An action packed team sport played on a circular field with a giant yoga ball") and Humanoid Asteroid ("Jump in your ship, man your lasers, and get ready to fend off waves of human asteroids in this dance/game mashup").

You can see the list of games and Come Out & Play's schedule so far here. The event's organizers encourage people to visit the Giant Robot Store for more details about the weekend festival.

In-Depth: ZINE - Exploring The Art Of Realtime

September 23, 2010 12:00 PM |

zine14.png[In the latest in a series of demoscene-related posts on GameSetWatch, AteBit's Paul 'EvilPaul' Grenfell pouts out classic disk-magazine ZINE, its heritage, and the latest issue.]

These days, releasing a magazine on a floppy disk would seem like a quaint idea. However, before the internet, it was used as an underground publishing medium. This was especially true for the demoscene where thousands of "diskmags" have been released over the years.

The ingredients of a diskmag are simple: take a selection of articles, add a nice GUI and bundle it all up with some great music. Many diskmags even have simple demos ("intros") tacked on the front, or "headline" releases that tease you before the issue is released.

Even today there are still a few active diskmags around. Probably the most prestigious and longest running of these is Zine, whose 14th issue was recently released at the Evoke demoparty in Cologne.

Mediatonic Unveils Who's That Flying? For PSP Minis

September 23, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

London-based indie studio Mediatonic, which most recently produced affable XBLIG/PSN action game Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, has another title coming to PSN Minis: Who's That Flying?, a hortizontal-scrolling shoot'em up in which you defend Earth from aliens.

That sounds like a straightforward premise, but Mediatonic says there's more to the title that it hasn't elaborated on yet: "It's side-scrolling shooter meets tower defence (with courtroom drama and intrigue!) doused in sheer awesomeness... AND THEN SET ON FIRE."

Expect Who's That Flying? to launch worldwide for PSP and PS3 on October 12th, priced at £3.99, €4.99, or $5.99 depending on your region.

[Via GamerBytes]

Six Minutes With Bit.Trip Beat For iPhone, iPad

September 23, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

If you're anxious to see how the iPhone/iPad port of Bit.Trip Beat, Gaijin Games' Pong/music-game hybrid originally released for WiiWare, is coming along, TouchGen posted this extended hands-on video preview for the iOS version. Check out the iPhone vs iPad multiplayer around the 1:15 mark!

Bit.Trip Beat for iPhone and iPad features two-player multiplayer for both local and online matches, touch and tit control, achievements, leaderboards, Game Center support, exclusive downloadable levels, and more. You can watch an official trailer for the Namco-published game after the break:

2010 GDC Online Awards Reminds On Audience Award, Over 125K Votes Cast

September 23, 2010 9:00 AM | Simon Carless

[To say we've been getting a 'robust' response to the Audience Award for GDC Online's awards show would be an understatement. It's great to see online game creators motivating their audiences to step up ahead of next month's show in Austin, where the winner will be revealed.]

Game Developers Choice Online Awards organizers have revealed over 125,000 Audience Award votes cast so far, reminding possible voters that award voting is continuing until September 24th.

After a committed response from many of the players of online games worldwide, there have been 129,700 total votes for this first-ever Audience Award for persistent video games -- and of those, over 67,300 have been email verified by the submitter so far, making them eligible to count.

The winner of the Audience Award will be revealed at the Choice Online Awards ceremony, to be held on the evening of October 7, 2010 as part of the 2010 Game Developers Conference Online (GDC Online), which is taking place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas October 5-8.

The first-ever Game Developers Choice Online Awards – a sister event to GDC's notable annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco – is the first award ceremony honoring the accomplishments of the creators and operators of online games.

Omni Systems, Tuna Releasing Eufloria For iDevices, Mac

September 23, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Along with its upcoming PSN edition, Omni Systems' "ambient real-time strategy game" Eufloria (previously known as Dyson, when it was a finalist for the Vision and Grand Prize awards at the 2009 Independent Games Festival) will see a release for iPad and iPhone in early 2011, as well as a Mac version soon afterward.

The developer hasn't announced any details about the iOS edition or how it will differ from the PC and PSN versions, but it's said the project is a collaboration with Tuna, the studio behind claymation side-scroller Cletus Clay. Omni Systems says it believes Tuna will be able to do the port justice.

In Eufloria, players conquer asteroids in space, "using their resources to literally grow and nurture new semi-organic plants and creatures to do the player’s bidding." It's all set in a unique minimalist world reminiscent of illustrations in children's books like The Little Prince.

"Eufloria’s minimalist play mechanics naturally fit touch screen controls and the clean and crisp visuals are perfect for iDevices," says Omni Systems' Rudolf Kremers. "It is a fantastic platform for the game."

New Witcher 2 Trailer Recalls Geralt's Prison Break

September 23, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

CD Projekt RED has put out a new trailer for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings showing off the different ways gamers can play through the story, with their actions affecting the storyline and how events play out. The idea's presented in a fun way, too, with Triss and Zoltan arguing over how the game's hero, Geralt, managed to escape from prison.

Along with showing off The Witcher 2's branching narratives and impressive visuals (this sequel is built on an internally developed engine, while the original used Bioware's Aurora Engine), the video also demonstrates the new combat system. Oh, and there's a fair bit of NSFW nudity in the trailer, too, so watch out for that.

Publisher Atari and CD Projekt RED expect to ship The Witcher 2 for Windows PCs in the first quarter of 2011.

[Via Radogol]

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