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Archive For January, 2011

Hydorah Dev Reveals 'Medical Terror Arcade Game'

January 26, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Spanish indie developer Locomalito, who created last year's acclaimed freeware shoot'em up Hydorah (and later L'Abbaye des Morts), has revealed a new "medical terror arcade game" he's working on called Viriax.

Inspired by and dedicated to an unknown illness he suffered last September, the game features "retro visuals and music, simple controls," and [procedurally] generated levels" designed for "short and intense" play.

Locomalito describes Viriax's concept:

"Be part of the Viriax infection and show humans who set the rules in the Earth. Infect important organs one by one, and destroy the ultimate defensive hope of humanity, the Nanobot Assembly System, implemented as a chip near the brain.

Reach the organ core to infect it, but watch your energy level: each time you move up or attack you will loose part of your energy, as also you will loose a bunch of energy if you get hit by an enemy cell. Collect red globules to keep your energy full and think when it's a good moment to stop and make some points."

Gryzor87, the composer behind Hydorah's excellent soundtrack, is once again handling the music for Viriax, this time using PXTone (music editing tool created by Cave Story developer Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya) exclusively.

The developer hasn't yet announce when the PC game will release, but we'll let you know as soon as we hear any news on it!

[Via IndieGames.com]

GDC 2011 Social & Online Games Summit Debuts Google TV, Playfish, Playdom Talks

January 26, 2011 1:00 PM | Simon Carless

GDC 2011 organizers have debuted the full Social & Online Games Summit line-up, including talks from Google on Google TV, plus major talks from leading firms like Playfish, Bigpoint, Zynga, and Playdom.

The popular multi-track summit, taking place on February 28th and March 1st during Game Developers Conference 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, presents a series of illuminating sessions about the technology, design, business, marketing, and future of social games.

The Summit description notes that "the features and tropes of connected gaming are catching on across the gaming landscape – encompassing Facebook gaming, web-based online games, downloadable persistent MMOs and beyond."

"New best practices are being discovered at a rapid pace, and we are seeing more high-quality entertainment experiences on social networks than ever before."

Advisors for this particular Summit include track co-chairs Raph Koster and Steve Meretzky from Playdom, as well as EA/Playfish's Sebastian De Halleux, Sulake's Sulka Haro, Making Fun's John Welch and more notables.

A number of major talks have been revealed on the Summit homepage and the GDC Education Summit section of GDC's Schedule Builder. Highlights include the following:

- In the 'Design' microtrack, notable talks include the always popular 'Social & Online Game Design 2010: A Year in Review' by Playmatics' Nick Fortugno and Joju Games' Juan Gril, as well as Raph Koster on 'social mechanics for social games'. Additional talks of interest in this area of the program include a postmortem of Kabam's popular Facebook title Kingdoms Of Camelot and a look back at the development of Riot Games' extremely popular 'DoTA'-style online game League Of Legends.

- The 'Vision' microtrack sees a lecture by Ian Ni-Lewis and Andres Ferrate of Google on "the lessons learned from developing Google's Smart TV platform, GoogleTV" with particular reference to game creators developing social titles for 'smart TVs', as well as a provocative debate, 'Are Social Games Legitimate?', as Nabeel Hyatt of Zynga and Curt Bererton of ZipZapPlay "go head to head" with Ian Bogost of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Daniel James of Three Rings.

COLUMN: The Spoony Bard: Why Red Dead Works

January 26, 2011 12:00 PM |

[The Spoony Bard is a biweekly GameSetWatch column by writer James Bishop that probes the depths of the characters, dialogue and writing in video games. This week, it explores the reasons behind Red Dead Redemption's impressive showing in 2010.]

Out of the entire catalogue of 2010, it feels as if no game has received as much attention, as many accolades or as few gripes as Red Dead Redemption.

That isn’t to say that there haven’t been other amazing games released this year—I’m looking at you, Mass Effect 2—but only to imply that somehow Red Dead Redemption has managed to avoid the variety of pitfalls that have befallen others. It wasn’t critically or commercially snubbed despite its fair share of flaws.

That fact of the matter is that Red Dead Redemption, despite being a Western, having immersion-breaking bugs and including a second act that most folks didn’t care for, resonates with more of the general public than any of the other offerings this year. It, as a vehicle for an experience, pushes the right buttons in a way that goes beyond mere entertainment.

R-Types Retro Game Music Collection DX Features 110 Tracks

January 26, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though it's a few dozen songs short of matching Jaleco's 150-track ROM Cassette Disc release, Irem's new R-Types Retro Game Music Collection DX is still impressive with its 110 tunes spanning three discs.

The album releases today in Japan and includes songs from R-Type, R-Type II, R-Type III, R-Type Leo, R-Type Delta, and R-Type Final, as well as a booklet filled with comments from the shoot'em up series' producer and director Kazuma Kujo.

You can watch a trailer for R-Types Retro Game Music Collection DX at the album's official site. U.S. publishers will likely never localize the release, but you can import it from Play-Asia and CDJapan for around $39-$42.

[Thanks, JC!]

Life In The Analog Age: Video Games

January 26, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Gabe Swarr -- co-founder of iam8bit Productions, supervising director for Nickelodeon's Kung Fu Panda: The Legends of Awesomeness, and the artist behind fantastic iOS game MeowWalker -- has a neat, nostalgic cartoon/webcomic called Life In The Analog Age about "the world that existed before the internet, and life in general."

He explains, "Do you remember that first day of school when your mom made you wear those stupid looking pants, or the time when you got picked on for no reason, or that first kiss, the feel of your backpack filled with books, the smell of your mom’s cooking, those quiet sounds outside your window every night before falling asleep?"

Swarr seeks to recapture those moments with Life In The Analog Age, and in his latest video update embedded above, he remembers the video game experience as a kid in the early '80s. In previous episodes, the artist recalls car rides with mom, the first day of school, drawing giant robots, and other childhood memories.

4 Color Rebellion is running a neat contest for the series asking readers to submit their favorite vide game memories. The site will choose it's favorite from all the entries, and Gabe will create a personalized picture of the story in the same style as Life In The Analog Age (winner will provide a childhood photograph)!

Indie Fund Selects First Three Funding Recipients, To Be Revealed At GDC

January 26, 2011 7:00 AM | Simon Carless

Independent game funding collective Indie Fund has chosen its first three funding recipients, which it will reveal at an Independent Games Summit panel during the upcoming Game Developers Conference 2011.

A post at the Indie Fund blog reveals that half of the group's current funds have been committed to these three development teams, and that two of the funded teams plan to release their titles this year.

Big-name independent developers including Braid creator Jonathan Blow, 2D Boy co-founders Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler and thatgamecompany's Kellee Santiago unveiled Indie Fund last March in order to "encourage the next generation of game developers."

The principals behind the fund will act as angel investors to indie projects they find deserving, funding their development out of their own pockets in the hopes of making their money back once the projects are released and drawing revenue.

The group began taking applications for funding last July, and is still looking for new fundees through its web site.

More details about specific funding mechanisms, and the development teams that have been selected, will be revealed at the GDC panel on March 1st in San Francisco.

[Originally posted on Gamasutra by Kyle Orland.]

Street Fighter's Gender-Reversed World Warriors

January 26, 2011 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Bastien Vives, the French cartoonist who created that moving "No Love For Street Fighters" set last September, hasn't yet tired of the Capcom characters and continues to post new illustrations for Chun Li, T. Hawk, Abel, and others.

Except in Vives' latest works, he's switched the sexes of the characters, giving us the shots of Guile and Alex as women above. After the break, I've included more illustrations of the gender-reversed Street Fighters -- who knew Vega's design could look even more feminine?

I've also included Vives' concept art for possible alternate outfits, like M. Bison's country club get-up and Cammy's jazzercise apparel. You can see more of his Street Fighter sketches on the artist's site.

COLUMN: The Gaming Doctrine: The Coming Bulletstorm

January 26, 2011 12:00 AM |

[The Gaming Doctrine is a monthly GameSetWatch column by Richard Clark about the intersection of gaming, religion, spirituality, and morality. This month - how People Can Fly and Epic's Bulletstorm crosses ethical lines never before crossed, and what that means for the industry.]

We kind of asked for it. After the last couple of years in which many video game enthusiasts did everything they could to drive home the mediums' artistic validity, and after lauding blatantly flawed games simply because they did something that spoke to the human condition (and rightfully so), it only makes sense that it would come to this.

After all of the rants about the immaturity of the industry, the calls to higher standards, and the comparisons to other mediums, this sort of thing just seems inevitable.

From its unveiling at E3, we knew Bulletstorm would be something special. Claiming that the glut of military shooters had gotten to be a bit much, they sought to solve this problem by producing a pulp sci-fi shooter with a crucial gameplay conceit: creative killing.

Using incredibly large guns, an electric leash, a giant boot and the surrounding environment, players would use their creativity to come up with unique new ways of destroying their enemies.

Lift: Multiplayer Aerial Mecha Fights For Free

January 25, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Based on mecha anime series Eureka Seven, Life is a fanmade, Unity-powered title that allows players to command flying robots and battle other online gamers with Zone of the Enders-style combat on the ground, in the sky, and on "reff boards".

Lift features LFOs/KFLs (Light Finding Operations/Kraft Light Fighters), environments, and equipment from Eureka Seven, but it doesn't look like you'll need to have watched the animated series to appreciate the mecha battles.

Lift Studios, a team that's worked on the project for three years now, has put out its first beta release for Lift, which you can download for free from its Mod DB page.

[Via Mecha Damashii]

Dingoo A320 Turned Into Mini Arcade Cabinet

January 25, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Popular among gamers who want to emulate titles from a wide range of consoles on the go (but don't want to carry around something as big as a Pandora), the Dingoo A320 is a Chinese handheld with a slick, minimalist design ripping off modeled after the Game Boy Micro.

Modder Abstauber apparently didn't need to carry his Dingoo A320 around with him anymore and decided to turn the console into a mini arcade cabinet using pieces of wood, a PSOne LCD display, a Seimitsu joystick, lots of magnets, and other miscellaneous parts.

"I've to say, the Dingoo was a really good choice for this project, as the cab is completely silent, runs on a single 12v adapter and plays almost all my favorite titles," says Abstauber. "Not to mention that it saved me about 200 bucks of buying a mini ITX board."

He's posted a guide on how you can create a similar mini arcade cabinet on Dingoonity. And after the break, you'll see the machine in action, playing Mars Matrix (arcade), Dodonpachi (Mame4All), Outrun (Mega Drive), and Ultimate Drift (Native).

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