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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 November, 2010

Mission in Snowdriftland Returning With Indie Games Edition

November 29, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Mission in Snowdriftland, the Flash-based advent calendar/platformer created by Extra Toxic and Nintendo, is returning this December! Except this time, instead of releasing exclusive downloads for Nintendo games (e.g. WarioWare wallpapers, Yoshi's Island DS ringtones), the game will now feature content from indie studios.

As players collect snowflakes in each of Mission in Snowdriftland: Indie Games Edition's 25 stages (a new level revealed each day starting December 1st), they'll unlock downloads from developers like Akaoni Studio (Zombie Panic in Wonderland), Gajin Games (Bit.Trip series), and Over the Top Games (NyxQuest).

Other featured studios include Spaces Of Play (Spirits), Ronimo Games (Swords & Soldiers), Press Play (Max and the Magic Marker), and tons of bits (chick chick BOOM). That last developer is putting together this year's Mission in Snowdriftland and plans to contact more indies to participate.

Make sure to hit up the Mission in Snowdriftland site on December 1st to play the first level and begin unlocking indie downloads.

Meggy Arcade Jr.

November 29, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Michale Molero's "MeggyCade" combines two of my gaming loves: homemade tabletop arcade machines and Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories’ Meggy Jr., the fully programmable handheld console with an 8x8 RGB LED matrix display.

Molero says he worked on and off for just under a month building this small setup from scratch, integrating the Meggy Jr. into the 7.6 lb cabinet and adding support for arcade controls. Not bad for what he says is the first thing he's ever built!

The music in the embedded MeggyCade video above can get annoying (you might want to mute it), but if you watch it for a few minutes, you'll see some footage of Steven Read's Donkey Kong clone for the LED system, Super Monkey Kong.

[Via Make]

Defend Your 2011 Calendar From Space Invaders

November 29, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Colorado-based artist and Etsy seller SeeChangeDesign has a neat and stylish poster to help you keep track of the days next year. This 12"x18" Space Invaders-inspired calendar invites you to cross off alien sprites from the bottom up, each group of colored enemies representing a month.

As Technabob points out, it's not the most practical way to manage your schedule, as there's not enough room to mark future appointments/events. Also, you're going to have a devil of a time hitting the UFO for bonus points when it flies across the top screen, behind over two dozen rows of aliens.

The poster is printed on matte heavyweight paper and is on sale for $19 ($7 shipping in the U.S. and $12 in Canada). You can see more photos of the Space Invaders 2011 calendar after the break.

This Week in Video Game Criticism: The Fable Of New Experiences

November 29, 2010 12:00 AM |

[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us a fresh new roundup of links from Ben Abraham, including discourse on moral decisions in Fable 3, the need for new experiences in the AAA space, and much more.]

With an absolute surfeit of super games writing, collected from the very smallest blogs to the largest online newspaper columns, it can only be: This Week in Video Game Criticism.

First up, Laura Parker for GameSpot AU writes about “the need for new experiences in the AAA space”, and quotes at length a number of smarty-pants game developers and bloggers for their views on the issue.

Adam Ruch at Flickering Colours examines ‘The Metanarrative of Videogames’, looking at how videogames nature as deterministic systems affects just about every aspect of their reception.

Elsewhere, Matthew Burns at Magical Wasteland writes about Fable 3 this week, arguing that for games to present players with good moral decisions requires plenty of context. Until then it’s all ‘Just Another Trick of Perspective’.

In-Depth: Neowiz's War Of Angels And Its Bridge To The West

November 28, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Our own Tom Curtis spoke with Neowiz's John Nam and Mark Chang to discuss the company's expansion to the U.S., and how the developers "didn't actually have to make big changes" to tailor an MMO to appeal to Western tastes.]

Korean MMO developer and publisher Neowiz will begin its expansion into North America with War of Angels, its first game developed specifically for Western audiences.

Neowiz began as an Internet service provider in 1997, and has since expanded into a game publisher that operates a number of free-to-play online games in Korea and other Asian territories, including microtransaction based versions of popular EA franchises such as FIFA and Battlefield.

Hoping to expand beyond Asian markets and into the West, Neowiz developed War of Angels to suit North American audiences.

War of Angels is a free-to-play, microtransaction based fantasy MMO that features land, air, and underwater combat, and a good-versus evil system that helps players determine their faction, which will affect the game's endgame Player-Versus-Player modes.

Neowiz told us that War of Angels is the first of several games the publisher will release in North America, and four other titles are unready in development for a 2011 release.

We spoke with Neowiz Games America chief operating officer John Nam and Neowiz Games in Korea business developer Mark Chang to discuss the company's history and its expansion to the U.S., how the War of Angels was developed to suit Western tastes, and the important elements of operating a free-to-play game.

Could you talk a little bit about Neowiz's history?

John Nam: We started in 1997 with a ISP provider called OneClick, and later turned into something called SayClub, which was the most popular social networking site, back then called a chatting site. That's when we first got into microtransactions. Advertising revenue was good, but we wanted to try something else, and we wondered, "Would people really pay two dollars for a hat or sunglasses?" It turned out it worked, and we ended up crashing our servers, so we found that it worked really well.

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': The Closure of Gameroom

November 28, 2010 12:00 AM |

['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]

gameroom_1989_v01_01-1.jpg   GRM19-05-front-cover.jpg

There are a couple of weblogs I read which devote a pretty hefty percentage of their content to obituaries. Blogs devoted to old films or cartoons or comic books are notorious for that sort of thing. It's not something the authors deliberately set out to do -- usually, it's a drive more along the lines of "If I don't talk about and commemorate this fairly important person in my hobby who died, then who will?"

Oftentimes I feel like I'm in the same position whenever a print mag falls by the wayside. I'm not saddened by it -- magazines close for all sorts of reasons even when the economy and industry is doing fantastically well -- but I do feel obligated to write a bit about any title that shuts down because I'm not sure anyone else will note its passing otherwise.

So it is with Gameroom, a very small mag devoted to arcade collecting that officially announced its closure last week.

Gamasutra Member Blogs: From Effective DRM To Believable AI

November 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[In highlights from big sister site Gamasutra's Member Blogs, our bloggers write about diverse topics, including suggestions for implementing DRM, the merits of Minecraft, and tips for creating humanistic AI.]

Member Blogs can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while invitation-only Expert Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- are written by selected development professionals.

We hope that our blog sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information, check out the official posting guidelines.

Here are the top member blogs for the week:

This Week's Standout Member Blogs

- The Ideal Copy Protection Or The DRM That Works
(Roger Hagensen)
Roger Hagensen explores the most effective ways to implement DRM, and emphasizes the importance of adding value to legitimate copies of a game to incentivize customers to pay for the product.

- Learning From Minecraft
(Damian Connolly)
In the wake of Minecraft's undeniable success over the past few months, Damian Connolly examines the peculiar indie title and discusses why the game succeeds on multiple levels.

Opinion: Hecker On 'Me And The Wii'

November 27, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[In an opinion piece, SpyParty dev Chris Hecker reflects on what he sees as the damaging relationship between developers and the games press saying "someone is going to have to take their finger off the trigger first" when it comes to trust and information.]

Back in the 1990s, a friend of mine was a fairly senior marketing executive at Microsoft, and I was an opinionated twenty-something programmer who knew everything, like most people my age.

I hung out with her and her husband (another Microsoft programmer, slightly older than me, but much less annoying) fairly often, and I noticed she was always very careful and measured about how she spoke in public.

One time, I was at their house for dinner, and I bluntly asked: "Why don't you ever say anything interesting or subtle when the press is around?" Without pausing, she said: "When I was a junior marketing person on Excel, somebody from a trade magazine came by to talk about the new version."

"I gave him the demo and we talked about the new features, and it went well. Towards the end, he asked if it had any bugs, and I said 'sure, we postponed or resolved as won't-fix about 2,000 minor bugs', which was pretty good for a piece of software the size of Excel, localized into so many languages.

The headline for the article was 'New Version of Excel to Ship with 2,000 Bugs'. From that day forward, I have always been careful about what I say to the press."

IGF x BabyCastles Closing Party Tomorrow Night

November 26, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, make sure to head to The Showpaper 42nd St. Gallery tomorrow night for the IGF @ Babycastles closing party, which will feature a guest appearance by Independent Games Festival chairman and the exhibit's curator Brandon Boyer.

Boyer helped bring several previous IGF winners and finalists to the indie games arcade, such as Pocketwatch Games' unreleased Monaco, Justin Smith's Enviro-Bear 2000, Cactus' Tuning, Team Meat's Super Meat Boy, Hello Games' Joe Danger, Loren Schmidt's Star Guard, and Ragtime Games' Continuity.

Chiptune artists Starscream, Neil Voss, and Knife City will provide musical entertainment for the night, and the show will also apparently feature a peculiar performance called "The Mega Beasts vs The Super Defense Force" by Mark Stilwell and Brian Olin:

"Citizens of Newtopia, the Mega Beasts are attacking our cities and threatening our way life! As we speak Roostaurus is carving out a path of destruction through the high rise urban dwellings and heading straight towards the heart of Newtopia's downtown financial center.

Fear not citizens, hope is not lost! The Super Defense Force has just dispatched two of earth's mightiest mechanized defenders, Gumbandar and Vorlan to protect our Newtopia!"

Doors open for the all-ages and free show tomorrow night at 7PM. You can see a few photos of the IGF setup at Babycastles here.

Best Of Indie Games: No Parking Zone

November 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Tim W.

[Every week, IndieGames.com: The Weblog co-editor Tim W. will be summing up some of the top free-to-download and commercial indie games from the last seven days on his sister 'state of indie' weblog.]

This week on 'Best Of Indie Games', we take a look at some of the top independent PC Flash/downloadable titles released over this last week.

The goodies in this edition include a 2D platformer designed as an obstacle course, a Metroid-like exploration game, an homage to the great Oregon Trail, and a pair of Unreal Engine-based indie games.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: 'Training Set' (John Nesky, browser)
"Training Set is a 2D platformer that features unconventional controls to learn about, where the only way you can acquire new skills is by conversing with spooky silhoutted characters for some useful wisdom and advice. There's no text to read and instructions to play are near non-existent, but the game does provide just enough clues for you to overcome one challenge after another at a very steady pace."

Game Pick: 'Escape from the Underworld' (Banov, freeware)
"Escape from the Underworld is the story of a dark angel's fall from glory, and consequent rise from the underworld. With all your powers taken by heavenly beings, you're left to roam the depths of Hell, building your strength back up so you exact your revenge."

Game Pick: 'Organ Trail' (The Men Who Wear Many Hats, browser)
"Organ Trail is a zombie homage to the classic Oregon Trail game. Amidst a zombie outbreak, a small band of friends grab a station wagon, stock up on supplies and hit the road in an attempt to reach a safezone all the way across America."

Game Pick: 'Magnesian' (PineApple Fish, freeware)
"Magnesian is a side-scrolling platform-puzzler game in which the player uses magnetic abilities to move blocks and launch their character around. Tons of neat ideas to explore, and it's very pretty too."

Game Pick: 'Sp.A.I' (No Comment, freeware)
"Developed by a team of students at Queensland’s University of Technology in Australia, Sp.A.I sees you taking control of Aiva, a virtual world infiltrator, as she brings down firewalls via increasing difficult block puzzles, swims through the innards of the program dodging lasers and security bots, and decrypting files by entering them and navigating her way to the core."

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