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Archive For March, 2011

Frog Minutes: Grasshopper Developing First iOS Game For Japanese Aid

March 28, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Grasshopper Manufacture already has several projects in the works -- Shadows of the Damned, Sine Mora, and the mysterious Codename D for Kinect -- but it has announced a new game that will release before all those: Frog Minutes for iOS devices.

Though the developer hasn't revealed much beyond the game's logo or name, it announced that the iOS title (Grasshopper's first) will hit the App Store this Wednesday. Grashopper also said that it will donate all proceeds from the game to the Japanese Red Cross for earthquake and tsunami relief.

[Via Joystiq, Famitsu]

Namco Bandai Trademarks Katamari Amore

March 28, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Namco Bandai has registered trademarks for two mysterious items in Europe recently: Katamari Amore and Katamari Amore Rolling Whopper. Could this be a new and main entry for the series? Or a sequel to the I Love Katamari mobile releases? Or some new kind of Burger King promotion? Who knows?!

Whatever it is, it likely won't have the involvement of Katamari Damacy creator and Noby Noby Boy father Keita Takahashi, who hasn't worked on the series much since We Love Katamari in 2005 and left Namco Bandai last year to pursue other projects.

I personally am hoping that Katamari Amore is a localization of Namco Bandai's Japan-only, Tetris-esque puzzler for DSiWare Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy (pictured) -- it features a song "performed" by Hatsune Miku!

[Via Siliconera]

In-Depth: PlayStation Network Sales Analysis, February 2011

March 28, 2011 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

psnnewreleasesfeb2011.jpg[GamerBytes editor Ryan Langley examines PlayStation Network's debuts and successes during February 2011, using leaderboard and chart data to analyze their sales and downloads.]

The PlayStation Network on PlayStation 3 was quite busy in February -- titles like Stacking, Plants Vs. Zombies, Explodemon and Back To The Future were all released to acclaim. Unfortunately, as is often the case with PSN releases, not many of them had Leaderboards that we could follow.

Here we do our best to try and make sense of the PlayStation Store, how well games seem to be selling on it to help developers understand the ecosystem they're getting into:

psnnewreleasesfeb2011.jpg

About The Undergarden

Unfortunately we were unable to test for all games that came out during February – only 3 had Leaderboards we could follow.

The Undergarden added only 3,624 players to the Leaderboards from the 1st of February till the end of the month. This is actually a little bit better than the Xbox Live Arcade version has fared since its release, but still very low.

TNT Racers was only released in Europe, and on the 24th, so seeing a low number was likely – but only 555 players have apparently played the game. The XBLA version received 1,275 leaderboard submissions in a similar time frame worldwide. Again, this is extremely low on both fronts.

About A Blob fared a little bit better than the others, but once again, seems to have not sold a whole lot. It did fare better in reviews with a generally favorable response to the game, but ultimately was ignored. Releasing alongside Stacking, Plants Vs. Zombies and Explodemon probably didn’t help either.

Koei Building Vandalized By Disgruntled Gamer

March 28, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

It's not clear what particular game or games the vandal was offended by, but someone spraypainted the Yokohoma headquarters building of developer and publisher Koei with words like "shitty games", "garbage", and more alarmingly "die".

While many have often criticized the repetitiveness of Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series, the company is responsible for bringing a number of beloved titles to market for around 30 years, including titles like Gitaroo Man, Gemfire, and Uncharted Waters

It's also possible that the vandal doesn't hate Koei at all and was targetting Tecmo (which Koei merged with in 2009). I know Quantum Theory received some very negative revies, but I don't think it was worth defacing private property over!

[Via @sprsk]

QWOP Maker Releases GIRP Rock Climbing Game

March 28, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Bennett Foddy, who created the very amusing QWOP, has released a new rock climbing game called GIRP that he calls "very loosely a spiritual successor" to the near impossible ragdoll-based running game.

In GIRP, you need to grab onto a scattered collection of rings to ascend by hitting their associated letter on your keyboard to reach them. Your character's body is flailing around the entire time, though, so you'll need to hit spacebar or shift to get him to jump toward the rings.

The challenge comes in swinging your character to reach the other rings while holding down the key for the currently gripped ring. More than a few times, I let go of the wrong key to reach the next ring, and sent my guy crashing into the water.

And if that's not challenging enough, when you reach a certain point, a bird begins to harass you and decides to hang out on the next ring you need to grab, forcing you to choose another path. I'm sure there are more annoying obstacles, but I couldn't make it past 14 meters!

I make this all sound really annoying, but like QWOP, it's very addicting and makes you want to have "just one more go" to see if you can climb higher. It's free and playable in your browser, so go check out GIRP.

[Via @mossmouth]

Amanita Bringing Machinarium To PSN, Announces Three Titles

March 28, 2011 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

In addition to an upcoming release to WiiWare, Amanita Design has announced a digital download release for Independent Games Festival award winner (Excellence in Visual Design) Machinarium on PSN later this year.

Originally released to Windows and Mac, Machinarium was also meant to appear on Xbox Live Arcade, but the independent Czech developer said Microsoft passed on publishing the charming point-and-click adventure game.

"They weren't interested because the game was already released for Mac and Windows, and Microsoft demanded it as part of an exclusivity deal," said Amanita's Jakub Dvorský at GameCity Nights over the weekend. "We're not interested in Microsoft anymore."

Amanita also revealed three games in development to PC Gamer, including Osada, an interactive music video with "Czech psychedelic country music" and a visual style that appears to be influenced by Terry Gilliam, coming out in a couple of weeks as a free download.

The second title Amanita unveiled is Botanicula (pictured), a "simple but quite large" point-and-click adventure about "five tree critters on a quest to save their home's last seed from a pack of evil parasites", releasing at the end of the year.

And the studio also mentioned Samorost 3, a sequel to its unique and surreal browser-based adventure series, which is planned for PCs and consoles this time around. This release is meant to be more polished, more intricate, and longer than the previous award-winning installments.

[Via Casualgaming.biz]

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': How to Hack the World

March 28, 2011 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.]

hacker01.jpg

Most NES and Famicom collectors around the world are probably aware of Hacker International, the Japanese bad boy publisher of 8-bit consoledom and distributor of titles such as Soap Panic (Bubble Bath Babes), by this point.

I (like a lot of NES fans, I suppose) first heard about Hacker from David Sheff's book Game Over, where he mentions that the company attempted to defy Nintendo's third-party licensee system for the Famicom, was sued, and went out of business shortly thereafter.

The only factual part of that synopsis is that Nintendo sued Hacker, but it wasn't for anything related to publishing unlicensed FC porn games and it was settled out of court before a verdict was reached.

What's more, Hacker had a very long history -- long enough to result in 16 Famicom games, 22 Famicom Disk System titles (more than most legitimate FDS licensees), 13 PC Engine games (seven on CD-ROM), 15 licensed PlayStation releases under the name Map Japan, and even a handful of Windows titles.

That's not bad for a company so associated with 8-bit pornography, the producer of such illustrious titles as Sexy Invaders, Miss Peach World and the unforgettable Strip Fighter II.

Hacker was founded and led by Satoru Hagiwara, an entrepreneur and former music producer who thought he'd cash in on the personal-computer boom when it hit Japan in the mid-1980s. Their first product was a monthly PC magazine titled Hacker (above), as he explained in a 2005 issue of Game Labo:

Opinion: Why The Duke Nukem Forever Delay Makes Sense

March 27, 2011 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[In this opinion piece, sister site Gamasutra's editor-at-large Chris Morris discusses why the latest delay to Gearbox's Duke Nukem Forever is actually a good thing, with other upcoming gaming releases taken into account.]

Given the game's long, dubious history, the latest delay of Duke Nukem Forever shouldn't have come as a shock to anyone.

It's certainly not a long one, by Duke standards. And while some doubters in gaming forums across the internet have seized on this as a chance to say "I told you so!," most fans and developers have barely blinked at the news, except perhaps to tip their hats at the clever way Gearbox announced the news.

But the ironic part of this delay is that it's probably the best thing that could happen to the game.

Sure, no title ever suffers from a little extra polish time, but that's not where the real advantage lies here. By moving DNF to June, Gearbox and 2K Games are getting it out of the way of a very crowded month, where it potentially could have been overwhelmed by competition.

Best Of Indie Games: Have a Safe Landing in Space

March 26, 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 Shoot First developer Beau Blyth, a 3D arcade shooter with a second person view, a space-faring game about rocket landings, and a text-based adventure game from the late '90s.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: '0Space' (Beau Blyth, freeware)
"0Space is a hotseat-only multiplayer game that supports up to four players on the same PC. The objective of the game is basically to shoot everyone else and be the last one standing over a number of rounds."

Game Pick: 'Second Person Shooter Zato' (himo, browser)
"Second Person Shooter Zato is a 3D arcade shooter that presents a clever gimmick - you can only look at your surroundings from an enemy's point of view. The screen splits accordingly when there are two or more enemies in the arena, and a window will disappear automatically whenever an adversary is shot down by your laser beam or missile."

Game Pick: 'Safe Landing' (Animals Play Games, browser)
"Safe Landing is a short space-faring game about landing a rocket on a planet. You have a limited amount of fuel for the ship, and must use it to push the ship towards the white marked spot on the planet's surface."

Game Pick: 'Blood of the Chameleon' (Thomas Lipschultz, freeware)
"Blood of the Chameleon is a text-based adventure game that was first developed in 1999. You are tasked with killing the evil Chameleon, but first you must destroy four tears scattered around the land."

Game Pick: 'Tiny Wings' (Andreas Illiger, commercial indie)
"In Tiny Wings, the idea is to make your little bird soar as high as possible by dipping in and out of the hilly landscape. There are tasks to fulfil, glowing balls of sunshine to gather, and new islands to find, but if the night time catches up with you, it's all over."

Game Pick: 'Pathos' (Bit Battalion, browser)
"Pathos is a short and dark interactive story from the developers of the Pong-inspired gnop and Chaos Invaders. The game follows a boy who ignores his mother, and continue to play on his computer after hours."

Infinity Danger: Warning Forever Clone On XBLIG

March 25, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

If you were all about Hikoza Ohkubo's freeware release Warning Forever way back in the day (if 2003 counts as way back in the day), there's a twin-stick shoot'em up tribute now on Xbox Live Indie Games that you might want to try out called Infinity Danger.

Developed by Milkstone Studios (Zombie Football Carnage), the game challenges you to blast "an almighty enemy that evolves to exploit your weak points". It has a competitive element, too, comparing and showing your progress with others around the world while you play.

You can buy Infinity Danger for 80 MS Points or download a free trial here.

[VIa IndieGames.com]

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