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Archive For January, 2011

Road To The IGF: We're Very Uncomfortable With The Copenhagen Game Collective

January 30, 2011 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Douglas Wilson of the Copenhagen Game Collective wants to make games that make players uncomfortable, and talking IGF Nuovo nominee B.U.T.T.O.N. to Gamasutra, he details the surprising, poignant philosophy behind abusive games.]

It began with a sex game in a dark room. No, seriously -- but the Copenhagen Game Collective isn't that kind of group, not really. Dark Room Sex Game was a very simple project: Two players take turns flicking two Wii remotes, and the game... makes low, excited vocalizations in a deep male voice.

If they can coordinate their movements, the voice escalates. The goal quickly dawns on players. It's kind of uncomfortable, and that's what its creators, Douglas Wilson, Daiana Lau and some of their friends, were shooting for.

Showing the game at exhibitions like IndieCade throughout 2008, Wilson hung out with like-minded designers, like Ruckblende creator Nils Deneken, and realized something.

He had to move back to Copenhagen, where he could find a rapidly expanding base of friends and colleagues with similar aesthetic sensibilities -- for bizarre game works that are often mean, frequently silly, and always fun and thought-provoking.

At Nordic Game Jam in 2009, Deneken and Wilson showed their "silly multiplayer flash game" (as Wilson describes it), 5 Minute MMORPG. And by the middle of the year, they had such a crew gathered that they decided to unite under the banner of the Copenhagen Game Collective. Together, they could aim bigger, they thought.

Wilson stresses that the collective is not a "company", but a "constellation" -- like a record label for video games. Deneken and a colleague have their own company, Die Gute Fabrik, and while others among the collective work at a studio they call Copenhagen Game Productions (for now; the name seems set to change to avoid confusion with the Collective), some of the projects they do are for showcases and festivals, never intended to be commercial at all.

In-Depth: Xbox Live Arcade's 2010 Sales Revealed

January 29, 2011 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Sister site GamerBytes' editor Ryan Langley examines the successes and failures of the past 12 months of Xbox Live Arcade games -- from Limbo to Path Of Go, as he checks in on Leaderboard statistics over the whole of 2010.]

Back in July, we released a list of Xbox Live Arcade Leaderboard statistics for the first half of 2010.

Now with the year complete, we've got a full analysis of 175 releases on Xbox Live Arcade -- both XBLA games themselves, as well as the downloadable content released alongside them.

This list has the amount of players on the Leaderboards for a game from the beginning of 2010, the stats we collected at the end of June, and the stats collected at the end of the year.

This sort of information is crucial for publishers and developers alike -- determining the costs of what is still a very young marketplace is still very difficult, and we've attempted to make it easier for you to try and understand it all.

Please note: Not all of 2010's released games are here. Many had to be skipped due to a lack of information available to us, such as Costume Quest and Plants Vs. Zombies, which have no Leaderboard support.

Here's the full list as we've compiled it:

Best Of Indie Games: We're Sweeping it Absolutely Clean

January 29, 2011 12:00 AM | 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 delights in this edition include a new release from an IGF Nuovo Award finalist, a browser-based puzzler with a clever gimmick, a retro remake of the classic shooter Warning Forever, and a popular Minesweeper reinvention that features goblins, golems and dragons.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: 'Raccord Sniper' (Nicolai Troshinsky, freeware)
"Raccord Sniper is a new freeware experimental game from the developer of UFO on TAPE and Loop Raccord, an IGF Nuovo Award finalist this year. You play as a sniper from the Raccord Police, assigned with the mission of eliminating pieces of furniture that appear suspicious in other people's apartments."

Game Pick: 'Catalan' (Stephen Lavelle, browser)
"Catalan is a browser-based puzzle game with a simple gimmick: in every stage you are given a number of threaded circles to remove, but you can only take them out three at a time. No more, no less. You do this by clicking on a circle with three outgoing threads, and if only one circle remain on screen it will disappear automatically without any further interaction needed."

Game Pick: 'Warning Foregone' (Jakub Wasilewski, browser)
"Warning Foregone is a retro remake of the classic shooter Warning Forever. As you fight against numerous bosses, future enemies will adapt to your playing style, becoming more difficult to kill. There are seven weapons to unlock and 32 achievements to collect, so get cracking."

Game Pick: 'iMamonoSweeper' (Hojamaka Games, commercial indie)
"iMamonoSweeper is an iOS port of the well-received Minesweeper variation by Hojamaka Games, originally released as a Flash game that is still available to play for free on the author's website. Similar to most RPGs and roguelikes, the objective here is to reveal the location of all monsters on the board and defeat them in battle with little or no combat damage."

Game Pick: 'Absolute Blue' (Jochen Heizmann, freeware)
"Absolute Blue is a great side-scrolling shmup that focuses on making you feel very powerful indeed, rather than overwhelming you with enemies - well, at least to begin with. Powerups are scattered all over the place, allowing you to upgrade your ship multiple times over and annihilate anything that gets in your way."

Adrenaline Amusements Brings Fruit Ninja To 46-Inch Screens

January 28, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

If the smartphone Touch or even iPad versions of Halfbrick's popular fruit-slicing game Fruit Ninja leave you wishing for a big-screen version of the experience, Adrenaline Amusements has created just that with its new TouchFX system.

The setup features three 46-inch high definition multi-touch displays (allowing multiplayer competitions), a version of the game titled Fruit Ninja FX, and a ticket redemption option. Adrenaline Amusements plans to roll out more games for the TouchFX in the future.

You can find more information on the TouchFX system here. I've also included another extended video of someone playing Fruit Ninja FX after the break:

Koruruto's Spoon Devil: Frantic Arena Shooter From Ecolpit Dev

January 28, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Q Handmade Games (a.k.a. Misi), the Japanese developer behind Sense of Wonder Night 2009 finalist ecolpit, recently posted a trailer for a new project called Koruruto's Spoon Devil, a hectic looking arena shooter/bullet hell game.

According to TIGSource, the game has you controlling two characters at once: Kororuto the Witch is slower/more vulnerable and controlled with the keyboard, while the flying Spoon Devil creature follows the mouse.

Both characters automatically target the enemies closes to them. They have separate upgradeable weapons, as well as separate health meters. Balancing all that sounds like a difficult but unique experience!

Q Handmade expects to put out Koruruto’s Spoon Devil as a shareware release some day, offering the first two levels for free. You can see screenshots of the title on its Japanese page.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of January 28

January 28, 2011 1:08 PM | Tom Curtis

In a busy week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Activision, Arkane Studios, Turbine, Inc., and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

- Sony Computer Entertainment America: Senior Game Console Systems Engineer:
"Be a part of the most exciting and innovating computer entertainment in North America. Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets, and distributes software for the PS one console, the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems and the PlayStation Portable (PSP)."

- Monolith Productions: Senior Software Engineer, Network:
"As a senior engineer for networking you will work closely with the lead engineer and the rest of your peers to develop state-of-the-art networking technology for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Your domain will cover the networking components of the engine and your responsibilities will include both optimizations of current-gen systems and design and implementation of pivotal new technology."

Interview: Rolando Creator Simon Oliver On Okabu's Journey To PSN

January 28, 2011 12:00 PM | John Polson

okabu_logo.jpg[In a GameSetWatch exclusive interview, John Polson talks to Simon Oliver of Rolando creator HandCircus, now targeting PlayStation Network with the cloud-flying heroes of 'Okabu', a co-op puzzle-platformer set in a colorful toy box world.]

The dream that is HandCircus became reality initially with just one man: Simon Oliver. After HandCircus released its first trailer for Rolando, publisher ngmoco was quick to pick up the title. The two had a brief but successful run, earning critical acclaim from the iOS title Rolando and its sequel.

HandCircus have since separated from their publisher and their iDevice audience for Okabu. While the team ventures into the uncharted that is console digital distribution, the developers remain committed to bringing a colorfully poignant, thought-provoking product to PSN users in 2011.

Here Simon discusses his inspirations, the company’s humble beginnings, possible Move integration for Okabu, and open-source software projects which helped to bring Rolando to life. He also reveals the reasons behind the team’s decision to step away from the last Indie Games Arcade (IGA).

Along the way, Oliver reflects on the previous benefits of having publisher ngmoco, and he mentions a merging London meet up group that may have more collective potential than gamers can shake their motion controllers at:

About HandCircus:

Tell us what other people said when you decided to “go indie”?

When HandCircus just started out, it was just me. As much as I'd love to say the earth shook and there were gasps of astonishment from all corners of the globe, it was a very gentle start.

Rather than diving off the high-board, I started with armbands on. I was still working part-time doing a variety of game-related freelance jobs (some product design prototyping, creating some educational exhibits) until I finally took the plunge as Rolando began to take off and I was able to go "full indie."


Simon Oliver

Promotional Pac-Man Battle Royale iPad Demo Released, iPhone Edition Coming

January 28, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

To promote its highly anticipated Pac-Man Battle Royale coin-op game, which began shipping last week, Namco America has released a free iPad demo of the multiplayer versus title that include a single-stage teaser for up to four people (no single-player/CPU opponents option unfortunately).

After the demo, players are directed to the Pac-Man Battle Royale Facebook fan page, which shows where they can play the full game at nearby Battle Royale arcade machines. An iPhone edition will release next month with a location finder, too (both operators and players can register Battle Royale locations).

"Pac-Man games have always been one of the most popular mobile apps," says Namco senior VP Frank Cosentino. "Tapping into the huge Pac-Man fan base through their mobile devices in order to introduce them to this brand new coin-op experience is something we have been looking forward to."

Cosentino continues, "Since Pac-Man Battle Royale is a completely new type of Pac-Man game play, we wanted to expose the concept to as many new players as possible. What better way than to give them a free taste on their iPhone or iPad then drive them to a location to complete the experience."

[Via Arcade Heroes]

Denki Blocks Now Available For PSP Minis In Europe

January 28, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Denki Blocks, the fun puzzler that has you sliding a screen full of colored squares all at the same time to join similarly colored blocks and form them into an appropriate shape, is now available for PSP Minis, courtesy of Scotland's Tiger Games.

Originally developed by Denki, the game made its debut in 2001 on the Game Boy Advance and has since appeared on Sky Digital Interactive Television (where it saw a million paid downloads in the first six months), iOS devices, and most recently Facebook.

This new Denki Blocks edition features 100 puzzles and is now available in Europe's PSP Mini for £3.49. No North American release date has been announced, but I expect we'll see the game out here soon.

GDC 2011 Adds WoW: Cataclysm, Game Design Challenge, Heavy Rain Talks

January 28, 2011 7:00 AM | Simon Carless

Organizers of GDC 2011 have revealed a new Blizzard talk on the making of World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the all-star competitors for this year's Game Design Challenge, and David Cage lecturing on Heavy Rain's "emotional rollercoaster".

As the overall session list for the February/March event expands further, following the announcement of the classic postmortems series and a keynote from Nintendo's Satoru Iwata, new lectures continue to be highlighted.

These particular talks are part of GDC 2011's Main Conference, which takes place at the Moscone Center from Wednesday March 2nd to Friday March 4th, 2011 during the pre-eminent, San Francisco-based event.

The GDC 2011 Main Conference features discipline-specific Tracks dedicated to programming, design, art, audio, business and management, and production.

These brand new additions to the GDC 2011 roster include the following lectures:

- In an extremely rare public lecture, Blizzard's Tom Chilton presents 'Remaking the World Of Warcraft through Cataclysm', a talk in which the expansion's game director -- also responsible for lead designing Wrath of the Lich King and Burning Crusade discusses "what approach we took, what works, and what doesn't seem to work when tackling the challenge of breathing new life into aging game content."

The expansion to the popular PC MMO sold 4.7 million copies in one month after its early December debut. Chilton will discuss how the Blizzard team "rejuvenated aging parts of the game world for existing, former, and new players while at the same time preserving and even enhancing what made the game world special from the start."

- This year's competitors for the popular 'Game Design Challenge' session, which focuses around some of the industry's lead designers presenting a game design concept, have been revealed - with last year's winner Jenova Chen (Flower, Journey) taking on Doom and Quake co-creator John Romero and independent game maverick Jason Rohrer (Passage, Sleep Is Death).

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