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Archive For October, 2011

Serious Sam: The Random Encounter Is Vlambeer's First Game You Can Buy

October 26, 2011 9:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Indie developer Vlambeer (Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box) has given us so much, but until this week has not seen a single dime for its efforts. With the release of Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, Vlambeer has now earned its first dollar, and is well on its way to eventually becoming an unstoppable juggernaut in the games industry.

Part of the Serious Sam Indie Series (with previous entries including Mommy's Best Games' Serious Sam Double D and Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack!), The Random Encounter "follows Sam and his band of oddball mercenaries as they battle across a pixilated world teeming chaotic battles, hordes of bizarre creatures, and mysterious secrets."

It's part RPG and part bullet-hell shooter, basically -- an intriguing combination! The game is PC-only for now, but Vlambeer notes that it plans to put the revenue earned from first-day sales toward the purchase of a new Mac, in order to create a Mac version.

[via @brandonnn]

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Potato Snacks? Sure, Fine.

October 26, 2011 3:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Square Enix has partnered with Morinaga in a promotion that finally bridges the gap separating JRPGs and Jsnacks. Final Fantasy XIII-2's cast will appear on the boxes of Morinaga's french fry-like (but non-fried!) potato snack Potelong in the weeks leading up to the game's release. Available flavors include Salt and Wasabi.

The official site hosts a pair of downloadable wallpapers, if you don't mind the clashing imagery of fair-skinned Final Fantasy protagonists and Potelong's potatoey mascot. The mascot, to his credit, is at least wearing the same armor as the characters featured in each wallpaper.

[via Andriasang]

Arkham City Official Map App Offers Salvation For Trophy Hunters, Achievement Hounds

October 26, 2011 12:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Batman: Arkham City is a vast game, especially for completists. Even though I collected every Riddler trophy in Arkham Asylum, I'm not sure that I'm prepared to track down the more than 350 collectible items scattered throughout the sequel. That's some Banjo-Kazooie nonsense, right there.

The Rocksteady-endorsed Batman Arkham City Official Map App makes the task seem much more doable, offering interactive maps for every area in the game, along with locations and solutions for every Riddler challenge. It's a cheaper and more compact alternative to a strategy guide, and I hope the idea catches on. Developer Dorling Kindersley also offers similar apps for L.A. Noire and Dead Island.

[via Joystiq]

Alone: Adventure Game, Unity Tutorials From Aquaria Co-Creator

October 25, 2011 9:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Infinite Ammo's Alec Holowka has had his hand in a number of past and current projects featured here in the past: 2007 IGF grand prize winner Aquaria, Paper Moon, Marian, and of course the Winnitron network of custom indie arcade cabinets.

The latest from the Winnipeg-based developer is Unity-powered adventure game Alone for Windows and Mac, which he collaborated on with Brazilian artist Frederic Machuca and submitted to this year's IGF competition.

He describes Alone as a 3D adventure title meant to integrate "many different elements into an atmospheric experience accessible to all ages". It's also serving as the basis for a series of video tutorials he's producing for game makers.

"The Alone project started out as a way to create an interesting series of tutorials for the Unity game engine. I randomly decided to post about this idea on twitter one day, and Frederico was one of the first people to respond.

As we talked about the idea, it quickly expanded into a full-fledged game. We started to get excited about creating an adventure that we would love to play that could also function as a learning tool for other up-and-coming developers."

You can see in the video below how Holowka was able to set up a simple project in the Unity game engine with a few assets and one of the mechanics fromt he game. You'll be able to watch more tutorials soon on the Alone Tumblr blog.

Medieval Runner: Wind-Up Knight Hits Android

October 25, 2011 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Robor Invader's Wind-Up Knight resembles another title we talked about earlier today, Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip Runner, more than a little, but that game doesn't have an Android version, and this new release gives users on that platform a chance to enjoy that kind of experience.

So, you're running through a bunch of obstacle-filled stages (more than 50 of them) rolling under and jumping over spears, slashing at enemies at your path, and using your shield to block rocks or flames above your head. Not too different from Bit.Trip Runner so far.

The main differences in Wind-Up Knight are the 3D cutesy presentation and the medeival setting -- instead of collecting gold bars in futuristic, colorful, and alien planet-type environments, you're traversing dungeons to rescue a kidnapped princess from "the evil Black Knight".

It's really a visually impressive game, but the catch here is that Robot Invader recommends you play Wind-Up Knight with a "HIGH-END" device (all caps emphasis theirs), like a Nexus One or better. A tablet will do, too. Otherwise, you might not get the best performance out of the game.

You can grab the 0.5 trial version of Wind-Up Knight on the Android Market for free right now. An iOS edition is in the works, too.

This Week In Video Game Criticism: From Women Warriors To Kendo

October 25, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Ian Miles Cheong on topics including Gears of War 3's women warriors, Dark Souls comparisons to Kendo, and more.]

Critical Distance is an attempt to curate the best video game articles available on the web, to give you reading material that's well worth your time. We hope to arrest your attention with what we've compiled in this edition of This Week in Video Game Criticism.

First up is an insightful article by Maddy Myers on The Boston Phoenix, who explores Gears of War 3's women warriors, and tackles the issue of gender in game spaces. Much like the difficult interactions between the game's characters, the situation in real life is equally complicated.

Equally engaging is Morgan Dempsey's essay on the PAX Valkyrie tumbleblog, which addresses casual sexism in video game spaces based on an experience she had in real life. She writes about how the silence of her two friends, and the shame they faced afterwards awakened a new sense of vigilance towards sexism.

Jagged Alliance Online Beta To Feature Shadowrun Map

October 25, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Cliffhanger Productions' started pre-production on Shadowrun Online only recently, and it doesn't expect to have a beta for its free-to-play, browser-based revival of the cult-favorite cyberpunk franchise for another year, but you might not have to wait that long to get an early taste.

The upcoming beta for Jagged Alliance Online, another revival for a fan-favorite series by the same studio, has a Shadowrun mission map. "It won’t have the SRO gameplay, but at least it helps people imagine what the game would visually be like," Cliffhanger explains.

This is all possible because Jagged Alliance Online uses the same engine, and has a similar technical base and turn-based core mechanics. The developer emphasizes, though, that the two titles will still have very different atmospheres and gameplay approaches.

"While JAO is all about running a group of mercs and tactically overcoming the opposition, SRO will focus on one character per player, more roleplaying and have a lot more interaction with the environment, hacking, magic and infiltration," says the developer in an RPS interview.

Cliffhanger also says that it's considering crowdfunding a portion of the game, which will allow fans to get an early preview of Shadowrun Online if they send some cash to support its development.

In-Depth: Xbox Live Arcade Sales Analysis, September 2011

October 25, 2011 2:30 PM | Ryan Langley

xbtop10.jpg[GameSetWatch contributor Ryan Langley examines September 2011's Xbox Live Arcade debuts and continuing successes, with charts and Leaderboard data showing the performance of titles like The Baconing and Radiant Silvergun.]

September was an extraordinary month for the Xbox Live Arcade -- 17 new releases across a variety of genres. Such a glut is not uncommon for the service, as those who missed out on the Summer of Arcade -- the largest promotion of the year -- tend to all try to get their titles out at the same time.

We have Crimson Alliance, The Baconing, Renegade Ops and more to look at, so let's examine how these games have fared in the marketplace. Using leaderboard statistics and Metacritic ratings, pieced together by us, we determine what went right or wrong for the latest games, older titles, and downloadable content.

Gaijin Demonstrates Runner 2's Prototype, Slide Jump

October 25, 2011 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Gaijin Games just posted this prototype video for Bit Trip Presents: Runner 2, Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, the sequel to its Independent Games Festival award winning action title Bit.Trip Runner, and it gives us a rare look at the game's early framework and the level editor used by the team.

You won't see the XBLA/PSN game's new backgrounds, fancy animations, or gameplay-influenced soundtrack here, but if you've played the original Runner, you should quickly recognize that this plays a lot like the first, in that you're hopping over obstacles and collecting gold bars/multipliers.

There's also a new move introduced here, the jump-slide, which will no doubt be used in various obstacles that send you back to the beginning of the stage if you're unable to master/time them perfectly. There's no word yet on when this will release, but you can follow Runner 2's development here.

2012 Independent Games Festival Announces Record Main Competition Entrants

October 25, 2011 11:00 AM | Full Administrator

The organizers of the 14th Annual Independent Games Festival -- the longest-running and largest festival relating to independent games worldwide -- are proud to announce another year of record entry numbers for IGF 2012's Main Competition.

In total, this year's Main Competition took in nearly 570 game entries from both leading indie developers and first-time entrants, a more than forty five percent jump over 2011's total entries.

Entries for mobile hardware like the iPhone, iPad, DS, PSP and Android devices alone -- now fully integrated into the festival and eligible for their own unique Best Mobile Game award -- nearly doubled over the prior year, proving the platform's increasing importance for independent development.

Some of the titles entered in the IGF Main Competition this year include Ed Key and David Kanaga's Proteus, an adventure game that dynamically generates its ambient soundtrack as you explore, Waking Mars, the action-gardening game from former IGF Mobile winner Tiger Style, and Super T.I.M.E. Force, a time-twisting shooter from Critter Crunch, Clash of Heroes and Sword & Sworcery EP developer Capy.

In addition, a number of returning developers previously honored at the Independent Games Festival have entered new games including Prison Architect, a previously unannounced game from 2006 Seumas McNally Grand Prize winners Introversion, Jesus Vs Dinosaurs, an arcade game co-developed by Crayon Physics creator Petri Purho and two new games from the team behind 2007 Grand Prize winner Aquaria: Infinite Ammo's Alone and Spelunky, a revamped version of Mossmouth's cult favorite rogue-like platformer.

Other notable entries this year include ____ (Four Letter Word) from VVVVVV developer Terry Cavanagh, Storyteller, an experimental visual-narrative game from former Nuovo finalist Daniel Benmergui, and mobile debuts from a number of beloved indie regulars: Vlambeer's Ridiculous Fishing, Rockfish, from Cave Story creator Daisuke 'Pixel' Amaya, and English Country Tune from Stephen 'Increpare' Lavelle.

In-depth information and entrant-provided screenshots and videos are now available on IGF.com for careful perusal of all titles from entrants both established and those making their first appearance at the festival.

"The continued growth of both the Independent Games Festival and of independent games as a cultural force is incredibly heartening," said festival chairman Brandon Boyer. "The diversity -- and the plain overwhelming number -- of entries in the festival this year is proof positive that we're in the midst of a true renaissance in games history."

This year's IGF entries will be distributed to more than 150 notable industry judges for evaluation, and their highest recommendations passed on to a set of discipline-specific juries for each award, who will debate and vote on their favorites, before finalists are announced in January 2012.

In turn, winners will be awarded on stage during the IGF Awards ceremony during the Game Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco next March, and all finalists in the Main Competition (including the art-centric Nuovo Award) and the Student Showcase (which is due for submission by October 31st) will be showcased in the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor from March 7th-9th, immediately following the 5th Annual Independent Games Summit on March 5th and 6th.

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