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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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Column: GameSetVideo Treasures

COLUMN: GameSetVideo Treasures - The Art Of The Game Mockumentary

December 3, 2008 12:00 PM |

[GameSetVideo Treasures is a new column by the IGDA Preservation SIG's Andrew Armstrong, picking out and discussing some of the highlights of the Internet Archive's Game Videos collection, which preserves game-related archival videos for posterity. First up - some intriguingly elaborate promotional mockumentaries for two Microsoft-published games.]

First on this revamped GameSetVideo Treasures, we have a double feature of mockumentaries made by (at that time) Microsoft Game Studios employee Fred Northup Jr., promoting two Microsoft games made a few years apart.

Northup himself worked from 2000 to 2005 on various video games made by Microsoft, in addition to making these two videos. As a creative writer, he contributed to the story and scripts of games like Midtown Madness 3, Forza Motorsport and Project Gotham Racing 2.

The first spoof-ish video, The Man Behind the Motion was for Midtown Madness 3, and goes a little something like this:

GameSetVideo Treasures: Consolevania's Lost 'Black Episode'

October 14, 2007 8:04 AM |

So we started up the GameSetVideo Treasures column, highlighting important historical game-related videos on the Internet Archive's Game Videos collection, and following a look at the subsequently cancelled Ultima X, we're back with a particularly neat upload - a new, but intentionally obscure Consolevania episode.

Now, I'm sure you guys remember Consolevania - those highly sarcastic, crazed Scottish game skit-ateers - but the interesting thing about this episode from their 3rd season is that it doesn't appear for direct download on their website. As the Wikipedia episode page explains: "25677-3 was released virally over BitTorrent, the reason given was that the fictional Sponsors of the show (introduced in Season 3 Episode 1) and Ziggy Springsteen felt that the episode was unfit to be released and that Rab and Ryan were to be suspended from further involvement with the show."

Now, I know Consolevania doesn't directly host this sekrit episode, but Andrew Armstrong tracked it down for archival purposes, and you can click on the picture below to get to download and streaming links on the Archive.org site:

The Wikipedia page further explains of the episode: "In itself, it is not a conventional episode of Consolevania using dadaist and obscure sequences and parodies in both the reviews and sketches. Game footage is recorded in the 'classic' style of filming the TV with a video camera. The alternate name The Black Episode is in reference to The Black Album, an album by Prince, which was pulled before release, and featured a similar catalogue number."

And here's the rundown of exactly what's in the episode: "Reviews: Bioshock (360), Space Giraffe (360), Pipi & Bibi's (360), Zombie vs. Ambulance (PS2), Robin Hood Quest/Snow Queen Quest (PS2), GrimGrimoire (PS2), Railfan (PS3); Regular Sketches: Safe Gaming by Sammy Miller: Portables; One-off Sketches/Features: "In Defense of Beastiality" by Peter Molyneux, The head of Phil Collins, RATSAMAN LeGeORGE: halo cury (sic), Rab and Ryan play Wii Fit."

[Also, I see the Consolevania 'Shows' page is continuing with its elaborate storyline oddness this season, with a post-Episode 3 download of 'C', which is apparently: "Brought to you in association with Nascar 08. Includes a review of Nascar 08." Sellouts!]

COLUMN: GameSetVideo Treasures - 'Making Of Ultima X'

September 16, 2007 4:04 PM |

Last week, we started the GameSetVideo Treasures column, highlighting important historical game-related videos on the Internet Archive's Game Videos collection, which I set up and help out with, and this week we're going to highlight a new addition that's a good 'might have been' for Ultima fans.

Archive contributor Andrew Armstrong dug this one out (with permission from the good folks at FileShack), and it's the 'Ultima X: Odyssey Making Of Video' from 2003.

Of course, Wikipedia has plenty more on the game's genesis, which "...was the first Ultima game developed after series creator Richard Garriott left Origin, and is the second Ultima-based MMORPG to be cancelled (Ultima Worlds Online: Origin — Ultima Online 2 — was cancelled in 2001)".

For those intrigued, you can click on the picture below to get to download and streaming links on the Archive.org site:

The video's description explains that this is "...a "making of" video for Ultima X: Odyssey (by Origin Systems). The video was released September 26th 2003, and is notably important due to the game being cancelled - Origin was disbanded by EA in Feburary 2004, and this was the last game the company ever worked on... The video contains interviews with Daniel Campbell (QA Lead), Rick Hall (Senior Producer), Jonathan Hanna (Lead Designer), Jonathan Lecraft (Designer), Andy Dombroski (Lead World Builder), and Kevin Saffel (Client Programmer)... interspersed with footage and concept art."

Also worth mentioning, from the Wikipedia page: "Drawing from the single-player Ultima games, Ultima X: Odyssey was to use the established Virtues of Ultima in addition to skills, experience points and levels. Players would be able to practice in the eight Virtues (Compassion, Honesty, Honor, Humility, Justice, Sacrifice, Spirituality, and Valor) and eventually reach the maximum level with it."

[Of course, there are copies of this trailer in a good few places - not claiming that we are 'saving the only copy' or something. But it's good that we can get a version of this and many other rare videos onto Archive.org in a reasonably high-quality version - preserved with multiple file mirrors and redundancy by a non-profit.]

COLUMN: GameSetVideo Treasures: 'Dreamworks' Neverhood EPK'

September 10, 2007 12:01 AM |

- Preserving video game-related material for posterity is something that the folks at the San Francisco-based Internet Archive are committed to, alongside digital preservation of all kinds of other material, and it's something I've been helping them with for a few years now.

In particular, there are some good, active video-related collections as part of the Game Videos collection at the Archive right now - particularly the Speed Runs collection, which is run by the Speed Demos Archive, and the Machinima collection, run by Stanford University. The other collections have been semi-dormant for a while - but thanks to some help from new IGDA Preservation SIG volunteer Andrew Armstrong, there's some new goodness being uploaded.

I'm going to try to highlight various interesting, rare, or videos hosted on the Archive every week or so, starting with Dreamworks' EPK for 'The Neverhood' (click through to download) - and as noted: "Electronic Press Kit includes making of, Steven Spielberg [and Doug TenNapel] interviews, much fascinating/unseen behind the scenes material" for the cult 1996 Claymation adventure game. It's also important because, since it comes from before the Internet video streaming boom, a lot of EPK-style video from this period isn't available on anything apart from videotape.

This video actually originally came from Stewart Cheifet's collection - he's an Archive staffer who presented Computer Chronicles and Net Cafe for many years. Click below to go to the Archive page where you can stream or download the movie (I tried embedding, but Movable Type didn't like it, for some reason - better safe than sorry!)

Incidentally, why should we care about the Internet Archive keeping copies of these videos, when YouTube or Google Video or any number of other sites have videos available too? A couple of reasons - firstly, there are high-quality downloadable version of the media available, not just sometimes grainy streaming versions - but then, some sites such as GameTrailers do that too. But secondly, the Archive is a non-profit, and it's not going to ditch any of its old content or do commercially motivated things to it - it's just going to keep it and preserve it.

[A couple of other neat Internet Archive projects in other media I want to highlight - current projects with the Prelinger Library include adding to the Prelinger Archive ephemeral movie collection by digitizing some neat ephemeral books/magazines, adding to a gigantic book digitization project. I also like the new Center For Home Movies collection - more interesting stuff that would otherwise get lost. In addition, coming up, NASA has agreed a deal with the Internet Archive "...to scan, archive and manage the agency's vast collection of photographs, historic film and video" for free access. Awesome.]