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Archive For November, 2011

AAAAAA!! To No Longer Disregard iOS

November 22, 2011 9:00 PM | Eric Caoili


Indie developer Dejobaan announced that its semi-sequel to 2010 Independent Games Festival award finalist (Excellence in Design) AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity is coming to not just Windows and Mac but also iOS devices.

Titled AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, the base-jumping game's iOS version is a collaboration with Owlchemy Labs (Smuggle/Snuggle Truck), and will allow players to tilt their iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad to control their free-falling character.

Dejobaan and Alchemy are also creating iOS-specific levels, as it's finding that "some of the most fun stuff for mobile is turning out to be different from the most fun stuff for the PC." The project is still in the pre-alpha stage, according to a report from Pocket Gamer.

This Week In Video Game Criticism: From Kotaku To Content Degradation

November 22, 2011 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including Kotaku's recent defense of its content, content degradation in Modern Warfare 3, and more.]

Do you believe in life after Ben Abraham? I hope you do, because it's time for This Week in Video Game Criticism!

As Ben wrote last week, I have taken on his role as the new senior editor of TWIVGC. Let's all give Ben another hearty round of thanks for the 2.5 years he's devoted to our little project and the fantastic things it's done for the discourse of game criticism and commentary. Then thank yourselves as well – because like always, these roundups could not exist without YOUR important contributions each week.

We start out this gorgeous Sunday with Kate Cox, who has been giving Dragon Age: Origins another try. Her latest entry is a commentary on the sheer diversity of possible stories and the unexpected ways players are able to fill in the blanks in the game, referring in particular to her own noble character's class privilege.

Speaking of Dragon Age developer BioWare, Tadhg Kelly of What Games Are has a piece up on them as well, arguing that the RPG genre is defeated by its own emphasis on systems:

"The roleplaying game profoundly struggles with its ambition toward art because its play is full of this sort of generalized mechanical play. It is pretty bad at evoking intended emotions within players (as Tolstoy would say it perhaps) because it's so busy being a giant accounting exercise. So supposedly significant moments in the narrative and the actions of gameplay are in conflict with one another."

Capcom's Updated Zazzle Store Delivers Impressively Obscure Goods

November 22, 2011 3:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Capcom's Zazzle storefront has updated with new Ace Attorney, Mega Man, and Street Fighter merchandise, and has expanded its Classic Arcade section with a variety of super-niche offerings.

How obscure are we talking, here? Well, here are a few examples:

- Final Fight's Belger on an apron.

- Red Earth coffee mugs and beer steins.

- Battle Circuit vinyl binders.

- Forgotten Worlds custom high-tops.

- A shirt based on the seldom seen puzzler Don't Pull, which was part of the arcade compilation Three Wonders, which saw a very limited release. The shirt is for dogs.

There's also a section devoted to Tatakai no Banka, for whatever reason. The game was released stateside as Trojan, but classic arcade games aren't exactly the first thing that particular name brings to mind. Odds are even slimmer that any other living human would recognize and compliment a Tatakai no Banka shirt, though. "Aw bro, I love Japanese proto-beat-'em-ups! High five!"

Yes! Jin Saotome Making Articulated, Poseable Skylanders

November 22, 2011 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili


Jin Saotome is already familiar around these parts for producing wicked video game action figures out of G.I. Joe and McFarlane Toys parts, but now he is changing the world by customizing the latest toy craze: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure figures.

He admits that the toys are already well made and intricately scuplted -- one of the reasons why people don't mind shelling out $7.50 each to buy and import them into the complementary PC/PS3/Xbox 360/Wii/3DS game -- but notes they're not articulated.

Saotome went ahead and fixed that, customizing a few Skylanders statues with full articulation in their necks, shoulders, waists, elbows, hips, and knees. You can even remove them from the base, make them sit, and wave. Very neat!

So far, he's made these modifications to a Drobot, Prism Break, and Chop Chop. Unfortunately, he's not taking commissions at the moment, but he is currently selling the Chop Chop on eBay (auction ends in 5 days and is already up to $30+!).

Zeboyd's Cthulhu, Breath of Death VII Bundle Sells 100K+ Copies On Steam

November 22, 2011 9:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Zeboyd Games announced that its Cthulhu Saves the World and Breath of Death VII Combo pack, which were priced at $3, has sold more than 100,000 copies on Steam between its launch on July 13 and the digital distribution platform's Halloween sale last month.

That's far more units than the studio sold with the original Xbox Live Indie Games releases -- Breath of Death VII has moved 55,000 copies at $1 since April 2010, while Cthulhu Saves the World went through over 20,000 copies at $3 since December 2010.

When Zeboyd initially launched the bundled two-pack on Steam and hit the top sales spot on the service earlier this year, it revealed the games "made more revenue in less than a week on Steam than [they] have in over a year and a half on Xbox Live Indie Games."

"The days of worrying over whether or not we could support our families while making games we would want to play ourselves are behind us," says the indie studio. "Counter-intuitive though it may be, there is obviously a definite audience for quality console-style RPGs that are aggressively priced on the PC."

Zeboyd is currently working on the third release of episodic series Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness (Hothead shipped the first two entries in 2008) for 2012, and has "many new intriguing ideas" for RPGs and other game types planned afterward.

Gamers Are Smart, Next Media Animation Claims

November 22, 2011 3:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Taiwan's Next Media Animation has previously tackled gaming phenomena like Angry Birds and Grand Theft Auto, but its latest video feature is interesting in that it targets gamers specifically, without an attention-grabbing headline or an exclusive "trailer" reveal.

The feature above is worth watching just for NMA's trademark off-kilter take on games like Call of Duty and Street Fighter IV. Gotta say that the surgery sequence doesn't exactly inspire confidence in gamer ability, though. Dude's just kind of poking around.

Desert Bus Unofficially Ported To iOS And Android, Proceeds Benefit Child's Play Charity

November 22, 2011 12:00 AM | Danny Cowan

With LoadingReadyRun's Desert Bus For Hope 5 charity drive surpassing $150,000 in total donations so far, App Store developer Amateur Pixels has released iOS and Android versions of Desert Bus, giving a new generation of gamers access to Penn & Teller's lost Sega CD pseudo-classic.

The mobile version of Desert Bus features the same simulated bus-driving action that defined the original title, in which players are awarded a single point for completing a real-time eight-hour drive across the barren Arizona/Nevada desert. Hilariously, the iOS edition includes a set of Game Center achievements. Make sure you keep your charging cable handy.

Worth noting: Amateur Pixels' port is not authorized by Penn & Teller, nor was it created with the permission of the game's original developers. The game has also not been acknowledged or approved by LoadingReadyRun, though Amateur Pixels pledges to donate app proceeds to Penny Arcade's Child's Play charity.

[via Joystiq]

The Last And Final Word Presents 50 Indie Interviews

November 21, 2011 9:00 PM | Eric Caoili


For the past year, Steve Cook has interviewed indie developers for his Q&A series The Last And Final Word. After 50 weeks, he's racked up 50 sessions with notable and soon-to-be-notable game makers -- quite a collection, and they're all available online for free at Quote Unquote (which also features quotations from devs).

Many of the interviewees are folks we've spotlighted before like Alastair John Jack (Arvoesine), Adam Saltsman (Canabalt), Jayenkai (Spike Dislike), and Locomalito (Hydorah), but Cook also set out to talk with "those that had rarely or never been interviewed before" like Frankie Smile Show and Paul Hubans.

Cook explains why he felt compelled to conduct and share the interviews: I feel that my place in the independent gaming community is to inspire the smaller developers, attempting to make a name for themselves, to keep doing what they’re doing and not give up due to motivational issues or lack of support from the community."

"Many independent videogame developers, from the most high profile all the way down to the the little, bedroom developer, attempting to make their first videogame, share similar beginnings, similar influences and similar problems, while still remaining vastly unique. Hopefully these interviews have demonstrated this."

Happy 8-Bit Holidays With This Gamer's Wreath

November 21, 2011 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili


Thinkgeek's 8-bit Holiday Wreath is packed with references even lapsed and 'casual gamers' should recognize: a Tetris L-shape, a giant red Rupee, a Pac-Man cherry, a Galaga sprite, a smiling Dragon Quest Slime, and coins blinking with yellow LEDs.

The 10.5" x 13" x 1.125" wreath is constructed out of EVA foam and requires 3 AAA batteries (not included). It's pretty cheap for $19.99, considering it will last you many years longer than real wreaths -- which don't even have 1UP mushrooms with Santa hats.

Square Enix Opening A Market For Android

November 21, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili


After throwing plenty of its support behind iOS in the past year, Square Enix now intends to open a marketplace for its RPGs on Android devices. The Square Enix Market is so far planned for Japanese carriers starting next month, but perhaps this is something we will eventually see from their American counterparts next year.

So far, the publisher has announced titles like Dragon Quest Monsters Most Wanted, Chaos Ring, and the recent Final Fantasy mobile remake for Square Enix Market. Releases for Chrono Trigger and Itadaki Street are also planned. I'm sure Android users hope to someday see Final Fantasy Tactics, Secret of Mana, and others, too.

[Via Andriasang]

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