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About GameSetWatch

GameSetWatch.com is the alt.video game weblog and sister site of Gamasutra.com. It is dedicated to collecting curious links and media for offbeat and oft-ignored games from consoles old and new, as well as from the digital download, iOS, and indie spaces.

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I Can Be Your Idol Master, Baby

August 24, 2006 8:20 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/idol.jpg Over at Insert Credit, Brendan Lee has posted an excellent feature on playing and adoring Japanese arcade game he Idol [email protected], which is coming to the Xbox 360 in Japan pretty soon too, it was recently announced.

Lee explains the cost of failure all too well: "You can see that she's not going to make it, a few games back. You're keeping up with all of the various statistical meter-o-trons and reading her fanmail, and things are going along reasonably well, and then it all goes to hell, rather sharply and suddenly, and she starts failing audition after audition, and you can see her slipping away, and they don't just fade the screen black on you and flash the Game Over, no, you've got to keep slotting the coins just to keep her from being in a state of limbo, to give you both some f*cking closure on the thing . . . Then it's too late. Then the Last Concert begins."

He notes of the endgame: "Deep pockets or no, it gets harder and harder and harder as the game goes on. There's a time limit to get to the next level, and the game keeps counting down the weeks on you, and sooner or later the Director of your talent company lets you know that he's tired of dumping money into your sorry ass, and then you start the worst game of The Idol [email protected] that you will ever play."

Sega has networked the game, so you play to make The Idol [email protected] leaderboard, too, alongside people who've "always got full ninja regalia or Taiko no Tatsujin outfits or other full item sets that you need to spend hundreds of thousands of yen to get." This article make me want to play the game. But judging by the despair, maybe I shouldn't go there?

GameSetScans: Arcade Flyers - Sega's 'Ollie King' (2004)

August 17, 2006 10:09 AM |

[So, I just got an Epson scanner, and you'll see a random collection of paper-based ephemera (much of it not game related!) on my personal Pop Cult Scan Fun weblog. But I'll be reposting the game-related stuff here, starting with a neeto Sega arcade flyer.]

It must be said that I don't really have a spectacular collection of flyers, and most of them are from 2000 onwards - but here's a nice beginning, a stylish flyer for Sega's 2004 skateboard arcade game 'Ollie King' which isn't even on The Arcade Flyer Archive yet.


From the folks at Amusement Vision who absorbed Smilebit's staff, this seems to have been developed by the Jet Set Radio creators, and is described as follows: "A street wise skateboard action racing game set in the modern day urban jungle. Players can race up to 4 other contestants to set the record time for the course. The more stylish the skateboard tricks are preformed then the faster you go. This is the first skateboard game that concentrates more on racing and speed than special tricks."

[The game uses the Xbox-based Chihiro hardware, but it sadly never got an Xbox conversion, presumably due to it being designed specifically for the skateboard controller, as earlier titles Top Skater and Air Trix also had in differing forms.]

Newsweek On Japanese Arcade Action

August 7, 2006 4:03 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/japarc.jpg It's always interesting to see mainstream coverage on on video game-related matters, of course, and over at Newsweek, Brad Stone has a new article called 'Inside Japan's Addictive Arcades', which explains why Japanese arcades live on, still.

Stone notes: "There are 9,500 arcades in the country with more than 445,000 game machines made by Japanese companies like Namco and Capcom, says Masumi Akagi, publisher of Japan's Game Publisher magazine. In the U.S. of course, the story is much different—arcades are a rapidly dying breed with only about 3,000 in operation down from 10,000 a decade ago."

He concludes, after referencing a game of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection he played: "So this is what we are missing in America, with our arcades abandoned by the big entertainment and game companies and converted into Baby Gaps. Japan's "quarter kids" have grown up and are still having fun... Yet there's evidence that the country is ambivalent about its arcades. Japan is facing a looming demographic nightmare." Lots of messages, here, a little confusing, but overall excellently written. [Via Jean Snow.]

GameSetLinks: Psy Phi, Shaka, China

August 3, 2006 12:26 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/shaka.jpg The second batch of leftover Bloglines and Google News randomness, then, and there's plenty of diversity in this linklog, from odd arcade games to Chinese cultural controversy, huzzah:

- A few weeks ago on sister site Gamasutra, we covered Sega Entertainment's plans for U.S. arcade GameWorks, in a feature which indicated the company would be spending significant money on bringing arcade games to its U.S. gaming centers. Well, lo and behold, a YouTube video turns up showing Yu Suzuki's totally bizarre touchscreen fighting game Psy Phi at the GameWorks in Schaumberg, Illinois. Maybe it's just a test version, but good to see the game in U.S. arcades. [Via NeoGAF.]

- Local paper stories about video game companies are always cute, so here's a new one - the Oshkosh Northwestern discussing new Wisconsin game developer Frozen Codebase, and has some fun quotes in it: "Why Green Bay? "Why not Green Bay?" Geisler said. "We could do this in Antarctica, but Green Bay is warmer." Actually, one of the great advantages of northeastern Wisconsin is the quality of life and low cost of living, he said. "If you live out West, you may pay $2,000 a month rent. Here you can find a pretty good place for $600 per month," Geisler said. "It's almost like a raise without costing anything."" Yay, Wisconsin!

- After I posted about slightly obscure Konami arcade machine Wartran Troopers (which, yes, included the words 'Sir, Yes Sir!' in the marquee), commenter TJ2000 pointed out the Japanese version, World Combat, as part of an excellent Japanese arcade cabinet photo set on Flickr - particularly good because it has detailed commentary on games like Sega's Shaka No Tambourine and ICBM Pachinko.

- MIT's Henry Jenkins has an excellent new blog, and covers 'National Politics within Virtual Game Worlds: The Case of China' in a recent entry, discussing "what some are describing as "the largest political protest gathering in a virtual world game ever" occurr[ing] within the Chinese Massively Multiplayer Game, Fantasy Westward Journey." It's great when people take time to gather all the facts and put things in perspective, as Jenkins and his student have done here.

Compile Puyo Pops Back To Life, Kinda

July 18, 2006 6:49 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/takor.jpg Over at Insert Credit, the often-obscure Recap has unearthed a piece of neatness - news on a Compile semi-resurrection as part of a division of Japanese developer Idea Factory.

The Wikipedia entry for Compile explains: "COMPILE was a Japanese video game company founded in 1983. Founded by Masamitsu Niitani (otherwise simply known as 'Moo'), they were responsible for developing some of the most colourful and popular action and puzzle games ever made, including their signature franchise, Puyo Puyo."

Well, as Recap notes: "It's quite interesting that Idea Factory recently formed up a brand-new group (yeah, yet another one) with the name 'Compile Heart', whose first work was the Japanese localization of the Korean RPG Astonishia Story, in its PSP incarnation. More surprisingly, the company's logo bears a clear resemblance to that of the old Compile."

He continues: "Yesterday we learned that it's indeed related to the legendary Puyo Puyo maker (which, you can say, currently carries the name 'Aiky'), and is developing an arcade game (no less) called 'Takoron' which will be based on the Puyo Puyo formula and it's being supervised by Puyo Puyo's creator Moo Niitani." So Compile isn't formally back, as such, since Sega still owns the Puyo Puyo rights, but it's sorta kinda back in spirit, woo.

In The Groove, Evergrooving Along

July 15, 2006 11:31 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/itg3.jpg Some quirk of fate led us to the In The Groove homepage, where Roxor Games' distinctly DDR-'inspired' rhythm game for arcade and consoles lives, and there are a bunch of potentially intriguing things there - not least an image from the Play Meter arcade trade magazine which reveals that In The Gro(o)ve 2 was the highest rated 'Video Kit' (upgrade!) in June 2006 by the surveyed arcade operators.

From this, we can guess that the Konami lawsuit against Roxor filed last year (the upgrade kits are often going into DDR machines!) must either be settled or stalled. It's also neat to see the entire Play Meter arcade charts to see what smaller U.S. arcade operators actually care about nowadays - looks like The Fast And The Furious by Eugene Jarvis' Raw Thrills is way up there, alongside fun stuff like House Of The Dead 4 and Initial D Ver. 3 from Sega.

[Oh, and in case you missed the 'classic' In The Groove April Fool from this year, as we did - it's EverGroove - "a unique game combining the best elements from the In The Groove dance games plus the addictive features of massively multiplayer online RPGs (MMORPGs)", which "adds a new SUPER MASTER difficulty with up to 50 steps per second". Well, the first bit isn't actually too crazy an idea, heh.]

An Eye For Pinball Photography

July 9, 2006 2:48 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/tiell.jpg Brand new weblog A Bunch Of Nerds has posted about some exquisite pinball machine photography from Kevin Tiell.

The site notes: "Forget these new fangled consoles with their multi-core processors and fancy graphics, it’s all about pinball today. Photographer Kevin Tiell is a brilliant photographer whose many hobbies include arcade-photography and naturally, pinball machines."

It continues: "Tiell’s recent project, “The Game, Reflected”, is a series of photographs taken from the perspective of the actual ball itself, following the motion of the ball and highlighting pinball machine design and form." Of course, if you wanna see gorgeous pinball machines like this in person, California Extreme is the best way to do so, if you're in San Jose, CA on Sunday. But we mentioned that already. Oh well!

What Eugene Jarvis Did Next

July 3, 2006 11:30 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/fanf.gif I was discussing Robotron 2084 and Defender creator Eugene Jarvis with a freelancer earlier today, since we're thinking about interviewing him for Gamasutra, and it turns out that his company Raw Thrills has just debuted some new arcade games.

You may know the Jarvis co-founded Raw Thrills from arcade game Target Terror, of course, a digitized light-gun shooter where you battle terrorists and "...the final mission is to prevent a hijacked airliner from destroying the White House", but his latest release, following up from street racing title The Fast And The Furious, is The Fast And The Furious: Super Bikes.

Apparently, the action is now centered around motorbikes, not cars, hence the new sitdown cabinet, and: "This time the action is not confined to the United States, breathtaking locales from Shanghai to Monaco, Sturgis to Switzerland and others." Sure, it's all a bit Cruisin' USA, but it's nice to see new arcade games out - Raw Thrills also just debuted Big Buck Hunter Pro, which also features 'critter hunting', including "...raccoons, possums, skunks, blackbirds, bluebirds, squirrels, foxes, wolves and rabbits." How lovely!

Fist Of North Star Arcade Endings Summarized

June 30, 2006 10:15 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/fatalko.jpg A truly gargantuan, random post on Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins' weblog clues us in to a YouTube video featuring all the Fist Of The North Star endings - very neat for those who haven't seen much of the Arc System Works 2D arcade fighter.

Arc, of course, are the chaps behind the Guilty Gear series, thus 'Hokuto No Ken', as it's known in Japan, has some seriously lush 2D art, and this compilation of finishing moves is a delight to behold, even if it isn't announced for any home systems (we're dreaming of an Xbox 360 online-playable release alongside Senko No Ronde Rev. X - at least, in our 'people care about Microsoft in Japan' dreams!)

Anyhow, Matt has some fun commentary on the fatalities: "Truth be told, most are lame, but a few are funny, like one where you just basically rip the clothes off a woman, another where you play a woman who tries to shoot something with a crossbow but ends up hitting the opponent in the face (for some Dick Cheney action), along with a weird Sears portrait studio-esque floating head in the background, and the final one where I think someone decided to jump off a cliff and slit his wrist at the same time. Plus the over-dramatic music adds to the funny."

Cecropia's 'The Act' Gets First Trailer

June 17, 2006 11:31 AM |

theact.jpg Massachusetts-based 'entertainment production company' Cecropia has been doing some interesting work for a while now, heavily (and just about solely!) covered by sister site Gamasutra - see the 'Fluttering Off The Beaten path' profile and an Ernest Adams column on the subject.

Ernest Adams describes the project best: "[Cecropia is] making a coin-op game about emotion, controlled by the earliest of videogame input devices, a single knob. They call their game a "filmgame." It's an animated cartoon built by highly experienced ex-Disney animators, still working with pencil and paper in the traditional manner. The characters aren't gawky mo-capped 3D models whose polygons are showing; they're beautifully drawn 2D people whose feelings and state of mind are visible in every frame - true personality animation. They're charming, tough, sexy, aggressive, sweet, goofy, and just plain fun to watch."

Well, now they've added a trailer for 'The Act' to their website, and it's really neat stuff, showcasing a 'old-time movies' visual style that almost feels like Humphrey Bogart meets Harold Lloyd, and some great-looking hand drawn animation. It's truly unconventional, and we really hope there's a place in the market for this alternative thinking - wonder how it'll play? Dragon's Lair++? [Via Cartoon Brew.]