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Archive For December, 2010

Humble Indie Bundle #2 Throws in Original Six Games

December 22, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

This year's second Humble Indie Bundle -- the pay-what-you-want promotion selling five Windows/Mac/Linux indie games to raise money for independent developers and charities -- has more than doubled its offerings by including all the titles from the first Humble Indie Bundle held in May!

So far, more than 180,000 people have purchased this bundle, contributing a total of $1.34 million and an average of $7.34 to pick up Number None's Braid, Data Realms's Cortex Command, Amanita Design's Machinarium, Hemishere Games' Osmos, and Puppy Games' Revenge of the Titans.

Everyone who's already bought this bundle will also now receive 2D Boy's World of Goo, Bit Blot's Aquaria, Cryptic Sea's Gish, Wolfire's Lugaru HD and Frictional Games's Penumbra Overture. Future buyers will need to donate at least $7.34 to receive the extra games and help boost the average.

The contributions will be split up among the first and second Humble Indie Bundle game developers, digital rights advocacy non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation, children's charity Child's Play, and Humble Indie Bundle's organizers.

Electric Dreamers: Short Documentary With Keita Takahashi, Muscle March Dev

December 22, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Hot Socket and Brian Holmes have posted this awesome, previously unseen short documentary featuring Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy creator Keita Takahashi, as well as Shinya Satake, the man behind supremely odd WiiWare game Muscle March.

The film was shot at Namco Bandai's Tokyo offices in March 2010, months before Takahashi left the publisher to form his own company, Uvula, where he now works with his composer wife on producing music, video games, and other projects as a freelancer.

Here, the developer talks about what led him to start developing video games, how Katamari Damacy came to be, and wanting his children's playground project to serve as "a starting point to jump right in to working with reality" instead of video games.

Satake, assisted by someone dressed in a polar bear outfit, also shares some insight behind the creation of Muscle March. He tells viewers, "Muscle March is certainly a very unusual game, but please, shed those clothes, and play my games in the nude."

COLUMN: Design Diversions - Friendly Competition

December 22, 2010 12:00 AM |

[‘Design Diversions’ is a biweekly GameSetWatch-exclusive column by Andrew Vanden Bossche. It looks at the unexpected moments when games take us behind the scenes, and the details of how game design engages us. This time, a discussion of 'trying to play game designer' while teaching a significant other how to play games.]

Do you go easy on your friends? How about your partner? Or your kids?

Or do you instead compete with the fullest of your abilities?

My friends have never gone easy on me. I have friends that like to play cheap and friends that like to play fair, but I don’t have friends that play with mercy. After an afternoon of death, I will come to hate them, but they’re playing the right way. Mercy is dishonesty, a sycophantic plays tyle, and gamers only get better at games with practice. Still, I gave up on more than one game because my friends were too good at it for me to have fun.

When I started playing Arc System Works' fighting game BlazBlue with my girlfriend, I didn't want to brutalize her for her inexperience; I wanted to build her up into a competitor. But in trying to balance competition and love, I accidentally traumatized my girlfriend with an electrified frog.

Wadjet Eye Selling Blackwell Trilogy For $9.99

December 21, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

If you're in need of an adventure game series to keep you company during the holiday week, independent developer and publisher Wadjet Eye has discounted its Blackwell Trilogy, offering all three of the "atmospheric mystery games" -- The Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound, and The Blackwell Convergence -- for $9.99 (down from its usual $$24.99 price)

Introduced in 2007, the Blackwell games feature "retro cartoon graphics, a point and click interface, voice acting, a fully orchestrated soundtrack, and unlockable extras such as concept art and voiceover blooper reels." Each of the titles promise story-driven gameplay that focuses on investigation, character interaction, and puzzle solving:

"When Rosa Blackwell's only relative dies after languishing in a coma for twenty years, Rosa thinks the worst is over. Then Joey Mallone, a sardonic ghost from the 1930s, blows into her life and reveals that she is a spirit medium

As much as Rosa wants to turn her back on her family legacy, it's now up to this unlikely pair to assist tortured souls and cure New York City's supernatural ills, whether they like it or not."

You can grab the Blackwell bundle at Wadjet Eye's site for $9.99 until January 1st. Once you've finished the trilogy, you'll be ready to play the series' fourth game, Blackwell Deception, which releases some time next year!

Canabalt, Osmos And Other Indie iPhone Games Discounted For Charity

December 21, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

A group of benevolent indie iOS game developers have joined forces for an "Indie iPhone Holiday Sale", discounting their acclaimed games to $0.99 each and donating a third of the proceeds to Child's Play, the charity set up by the creators of webcomic Penny Arcade and devoted to donating toys and video games to children's hospitals.

The six iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad games include Steph Thirion's Eliss, Area/Code's Drop7, Tiger Style's Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, Mikengreg's Solipskier, Hemisphere Games' Osmos, and Semi Secret Software's Canabalt. Most of these titles have never been priced this cheaped.

According to Semi Secret's Adam "Atomic" Saltsman, the sale is off to a "pretty great start," and the developers might have "some special announcements" if they raise enough money today.

GDC 2011 Smartphone Summit Adds Infinity Blade, Google, Smule Talks

December 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

GDC 2011 organizers have revealed notable GDC Smartphone Summit talks for the February/March 2011 event, including an Infinity Blade postmortem and talks from Google and Smule (Magic Piano).

The brand new summit, taking place on February 28th and March 1st during Game Developers Conference 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, will feature lectures from the top iOS and Android developers, and other smartphone game creators.

The Summit is intended to "share ideas, introduce best practices and discuss the future of gaming on established and emerging smartphone and related platforms, including the iPhone and iPad, Android OS phones and tablets, Blackberry and a cornucopia of similar handheld devices."

Advisors for the Summits include Tiger Style's David Kalina (Spider: The Secret Of Bryce Manor) and Korean mobile veteran Gamevil's U.S. president Kyu Lee (Baseball Superstars).

With a final set of lectures to be announced soon, a number of major talks have been revealed on the Summit homepage and the Smartphone Summit section of GDC's Schedule Builder. Highlights include the following:

- In a talk called 'Infinity Blade: How We Made a Hit, What We Learned, and Why You Can Do it Too!', Chair Entertainment co-founder Donald Mustard will discuss the design and implementation of the fastest-selling iOS game of all time.

The session from the Shadow Complex creators claims to "share the methodologies we have learned that are unique to the process of creating a critically and commercially successful mobile title", discussing "how to take the limitations of the platform and turn them to your advantage [and] how to quickly and successfully find the fun in your title."

Multiplayer: Gallery1988 Showcasing Game-Inspired Posters

December 21, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

For the opening show at its new Venice (California) location, Gallery1988 has partnered with OMG Posters to exhibit a collection of more than 30 limited edition prints inspired by classic video games, running from January 15 to February 4.

The Frogger poster you see here comes from talented illustrator Dave Perillo. Other artists contributing prints include Scott Campbell, Kevin Tong, Tom Whalen, and many others -- see the almost nearly full list of participants after the break (OMG Posters promises a "surprise or two").

Of course, we'll make sure to share any standout pieces from the "Multiplayer" show as they pop up online, as well as links to buy them eventually!

Yoshitaka Amano-directed Animated Film Due Spring 2011

December 21, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Yoshitaka Amano, famous for his illustrations and character designs featured in the Final Fantasy series and many other games/anime, announced that his film directorial debut Deva Zan will release worldwide in Spring 2012.

The animated film, which Amano concepted a decade ago and has been developing since, is "set after the Jinshō (Buddhist divine generals) were defeated by darkness and became lost in time," according to a report from Anime News Network.

Zan, the amnesiac samurai lending his name to the movie title, gathers a group of fellow soldiers who can cross through time and space to fight against "the legions of darkness." Stay tuned to Deva Zan's official site for more details soon!

[Via Nobuooo]

Glow Artisan Now Out For iPhone

December 21, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Glow Artisan, the DSiWare puzzler that took home the "Best Mobile Game Design" award at Independent Games Festival Mobile in March, is now available for iPhone! In case you missed it, the game also debuted on Windows Phone 7 last month -- now all we need is an Android edition!

Once again, the game challenges players to re-create puzzle "blueprints" by drawing/mixing lines made up of three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). This release offers over 80 puzzles across three difficulty modes, achievements/leaderboards via Game Center, and the ability to create your own puzzles with the iPhone or iPod Touch camera.

Developer Powerhead Games is selling Glow Artisan at a special introductory price of $1.99, so grab it from the App Store now before the price jumps up on January 19th!

COLUMN: The Gaming Doctrine: A Tale of Two Crucifixions

December 21, 2010 12:00 AM |

[The Gaming Doctrine is a monthly GameSetWatch columnby Richard Clark about the intersection of gaming, religion, spirituality, and morality. This month - an examination of two instances of crucifixion in recent bestselling games, and the impact they can have on the player. Warning: minor spoilers for Fallout: New Vegas and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood within.]

Every culture has its ways of putting one another to death. Some are more humane than others, but no execution technique is quite as horrifying as the crucifixion.

While most cultures today tend to attempt a “humane” death for those who are deemed to deserve such a penalty, the crucifixion was inflicted on criminals particularly because it was inhumane.

It was known, not just for its incredibly painful and slow nature, but also because of the amount of shame the act brought onto the barely clothed recipient of such a death. It’s this highly-unpleasant cultural practice that Christianity maintains as the centerpiece of its religion. And now, this practice is a primary factor in two recent blockbuster video games.

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