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Archive For April, 2011

Cospa Making Persona 4 Eyeglasses

April 26, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

If you played through Persona 4 (which you should have, as it's fantastic) and thought the silver-haired protagonist's eyeglasses looked slick, or if you're just looking for the final accessory to complete your cosplay outfit, you will soon be able to buy an identical pair from import shops.

Cospa -- presumably with the help of Teddie -- is producing a run of eyeglasses that feature the same design as the pair worn by Persona 4's hero, and the SMPTE color bars on the side. According to product listings, they're meant to help you "dispel the fog of the world of television."

The glasses are designed so you can put in your own prescription lenses, if you'd like to use these for everyday use. You probably will want to, as it's hard to justify spending $85 when these ship in late August. Oh, and you'll likely also want to buy the Persona 4 Eyeglass Case Set!

[Via @colettebennett]

Sony's Reveals New Tablets With PS Suite, PS1 Support

April 26, 2011 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

As you might have seen on our sister site Gamasutra, Sony revealed two tablet computers last night, the S1 and dual screen S2, that boast support for the company's new PlayStation Suite platform and the ability to run PlayStation 1 games. I've embedded a supplementary trailer Sony also posted for the devices above.

The 9.4-inch screen S1 is designed for "rich media entertainment", features front- and rear-facing cameras, and has a curve in the back simulating the feel of holding a magazine. The S2 has two 5.5-inch screens and a DS-like clamshell design -- when playing PS1 games, the controller interface appears on the bottom.

Both tablets use Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor and will run a modified version of Google's Android 3.0 operating system, which is built from the ground-up for tablet devices. The S1 and S2 are slated to release this fall.

Interview: An Upstart Fighting Game Developer's Radical Re-Think

April 26, 2011 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Skullgirls project lead Mike Zaimont tells our own Christian Nutt what sets the strikingly appealing and playable downloadable 2D fighting game apart from the Japanese titles that inspired it.]

The 2D fighting game genre has long been dominated by the Japanese. Even in the genre's arcade heyday, the only serious Western contender was Mortal Kombat -- otherwise, all of the notable franchises, including the industry-leading Street Fighter franchise, came from the East.

The situation has not much changed these days. Mortal Kombat is still huge, Street Fighter has revived in spectacular form, and Marvel vs. Capcom is back and very popular. But a new upstart developer, California-based Reverge Labs, has emerged -- and is prepping its first title, Skullgirls -- a 2D fighting game. It will be released as a downloadable console title this summer.

A cartoony game clearly influenced by cult titles like Darkstalkers or Guilty Gear, it seems at first to play very similarly to Capcom's stable of fighting games, with the familiar six button layout the company pioneered and popularized.

However, dig deeper, and you'll find there are some profound differences between Skullgirls and the competition. In this interview, project lead Mike Zaimont explains to us exactly what sets the game apart from the titles that inspired it:

Homebrew NES Platformer Battle Kid 2 Previewed

April 25, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

If you pay attention to NES homebrew releases, you might have heard of Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril last year, Sivak Games' impressive platformer inspired by titles like Mega Man, Castlevania, and I Wanna Be The Guy. It released on an actual cartridge that you could pop into your NES!

Sivak is working on a Battle Kid sequel subtitled Mountain of Torment, which will have a redesigned HUD and new features like teleporterts (for transporting to different parts on the giant map), wall gripping, a heart meter, a Super Meat Boy-esque death counter, and more.

This embedded video featured at RetroCollect starts off slow, but you'll see around the 3:15 mark, Sivak runs through the hazards in several rooms. In production since last July, Mountain of Torment so far has 511 rooms, 24 enemy types, 4 bosses (5-8 planned), and 17 music tracks.

While there's no release date yet for Battle Kid 2: Mountain of Torment, we'll let you know once it's ready to ship of course.

[Via @gamespite]

Take A Stroll And Enjoy Star Sky

April 25, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Add another title to the growing list of ambient, silhouetted indie games that have released lately (e.g. Limbo, NightSky), though this one is less a platformer and more "a slow-paced game of exploring different choices", with secrets to unlock and endings to reflect about.

Star Sky is essentially a game about a man on a midnight stroll. Swedish developer and sound designer Mårten Jonsson (Melodia) warns that it's "not a game for everyone" and is something players should play patiently to allow themselves to take in:

"Star Sky is not a game you play for hours on end. You play it once, see what there there is to discover and then play it as many times as you feel like. Then hopefully you will return and finish it at some point, in order to unlock the end.

The game is meant to be a relaxing and ambient experience focusing on creating a soothing atmosphere rather than intense gameplay. It is similar to an interactive poem. A poem that has several endings and allow you to explore different scenarios."

You can buy Star Sky to play on your Windows PC for $2.99 here.

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 4/23/11

April 25, 2011 12:00 PM |

['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. This time -- an analytical look at the latest video game magazines released in the last couple of weeks.]

Welcome to the first Mag Roundup in a while, a biweekly feature where I dissect and discuss the game magazines that have hit my mailbox over the past little while. Apologies for being lax about this bit -- I got distracted, repeatedly.

One modification that I should note is that I'm not going to be covering Beckett Massive Online Gamer in the future. Why? Chiefly because I got a renewal notice and it made me realize that I have not enjoyed reading a single issue of that magazine since its debut. Yes -- Beckett MOG is so bad that I am willing to resist my obsessive completionist ways when it comes to magazine collecting, just to starve the publisher of their $15. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Kicking off:

Game Informer May 2011

Cover: Mass Effect 3

gi-1105.jpg

I got into a discussion with a colleague of mine over this cover. I have an aversion to bald space marines on the covers of game magazines, something that longtime column fans might've noted once or twice over the past half-decade.

My friend, on the other hand, hailed this cover as iconic and a sort of culmination for the series -- which, admittedly, it very well could be, if you were familiar with the Mass Effect games in the first place. However, in the end, it's still a bald space marine. (This is not GI's fault, of course -- most of their covers are first looks at upcoming AAA titles, and most upcoming AAA titles have starred Vin Diesel-ish dudes for the past 2 or 3 years.)

Tales from the GDC Vault: On Betamax, Black & White, A Talk Under Siege

April 25, 2011 11:00 AM | Jason Scott

pmtape1.jpg[Continuing his new 'Tales from the GDC Vault' series, digital historian Jason Scott showcases his work on the the GDC multimedia archives, presenting a Betamax video rundown and talks or excerpts featuring Peter Molyneux (Black & White) and Chris Taylor (Dungeon Siege).]

Jason Scott, GDC Historian here. I'm here to talk about the future. I'm here to talk, in other words, about the Betamax format.

For people of a certain age, Betamax is kind of a joke. For others who are younger, it's barely a word, something you might have heard in passing in an unrelated discussion about video. But what it is, in fact, is a video format that never quite died, and which still sees some amount of activity in the present day.

It was a contemporary format to VHS, first introduced in the 1970s, as one of the standards intended to be used in all sorts of consumer-grade hardware for videotape. It had some positive features, but a crushing grip by Sony meant that the format was shoved aside for its not-so-great-but-cheaper competitor, from JVC. Not one to just kill the format,

Sony instead tweaked it: the professional reworking of that consumer-grade video technology into Betacam meant that it had a lot of use in the professional sector going forward. Granted, that activity has decreased intensely with the advent of digital recording and high-definition requirements, but you can be assured that there are more Betamax players and recorders out there than the initial guess of "zero". One of them, I am happy to say, is in my house.

Check out this svelte monstrosity:

Unlike the all-too-frequent ebay "shipping and handling" shenanigans, when I discovered this thing was fifty actual pounds I thought the price charged was fair indeed. (I purchased the entire item, with shipping, for about $250, in case you're wondering). It works really well, too, another bonus.

In this situation, I am taking tapes that are in some cases a decade old and running them through, so I'm still in the process of testing various encoding and capturing trickery to get the whole thing working.

Rotoscoping Pioneer Releases DSiWare Animation App

April 25, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

After working on the project for several years, Bob Sabiston, creator of the rotoscoping software used in films like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, has released Inchworm Animation, a painting and animation DSiWare application that's an awesome alternative to Nintendo's simpler Flipnote Studio software.

Inchworm Animation includes tutorials and tools that allow you to create images as large as 9,999-by-9,999 pixels, make multi-layer flipbook animations, and rotoscope by tracing on top of camera fooage. With the DSi's Camera, you can also shoot stop-motion and time lapse animations in color, too.

Oher neat features include onion skinning, six-level zooming, cut/paste/rotate, undo functions, a pattern editor, variable thickness antialiased brushes, translucent color and pattern fill, custom palette storage, rescaling clipboard images, shapes with borders, and the ability to export to the SD card as SWF/BMP files.

It's probably the closest thing you can get to Mario Paint on a DS right now, and it's only 500 Nintendo Points ($5)!

Behind The Scenes Of Mega64's GDC Skits

April 25, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

One of the most memorable moments from the Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC was the amazing Mega64 video revealing the intended ending of Sega's cherished Shenmue series, as told by series director Yu Suzuki himself!

The video game comedy skit group has a posted a "Behind the Scenes" video giving fans a peek at Shenmue clip's production, including Suzuki cracking up over his lines, Cliff Bleszinski's last-minute cameo, and their hotel room green screen setup.

It also shows unused footage and preparation from other videos that were premiered at the Game Developers Conference, like the Heavy Rain and Limbo spoofs. You don't really see it here, but you should watch the crew's Indie Dreamz video if you haven't yet, too.

Al Qaeda's Sega Cartridge Plot

April 25, 2011 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Wikileaks' release today of documents relating to Guantanamo Bay and its prisoners has a curious video game-related note in the Detainee Assessment record for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the high-profile Al Qaeda and alleged "principal architect of the 9/11 attacks".

His profile, which was put together by the Department of Defense, detailed operations intended to strike at the U.S. and its allies around the world, like assassination plots against Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II, plans to detonate explosive-laden ships crossing the Panama Canal, and attacks on London's Heathrow Airport.

The Detainee Assessment record also mentioned this strategem involving Sega cartridges:

"Detainee discussed remote-controlled firing devices (RCFDS) which were found during raids in Karachi in September 2002. These RCFDS were built inside black Sega videogame cassette cartridges to protect the RCFDS and to make them appear innocuous."
Hopefully, they were all recovered and aren't floating around somewhere. These are probably the only rare Sega cartridges that a collector wouldn't want to own!

[Via dak1dsk1, dj_page1]

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