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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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Unemployed Ninjas Wandering To The DS

October 8, 2006 10:12 AM |

izunaa.gif Ta to Jiji and GoNintendo for pointing out info on a new Atlus dungeon hack for the DS debuting in the States early next year, so we figured we'd pass on.

It's explained: "DerrickDS was doing some hunting when he came across a title called Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja. The title was due to be released from Atlus. Having never heard of the title, he got in touch with Atlus, who gave him this response."

Which was: “Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, I know not much about. It’s a random-dungeon-crawling RPG with a wacky/silly sense of humor. Tons and tons of items and combat, in the vein of the Mysterious Dungeon series. Another 1Q ‘07 shipper. Right now, we don’t have a detailed description just yet, but I will know more in the next month.” There's some earlier info on the Success-developed version on GoNintendo.

Tingling All Over, But Not For Scientology

September 23, 2006 8:01 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/vanpool0.jpg It's worth checking out the Game|Life weblog, more than usual, even, since Chris Kohler has been doing some neat photo updates for Wired News from Tokyo.

But I particularly liked his photos from the Vanpool offices, the creators of the ultra-bizarre Zelda spin-off Tingle RPG for DS - he noted: "But I had to ask the designers: was their game really intended, as I suspected, as a parody of Scientology?"

So: "As it turns out: no, but sort of. While they didn't know what Scientology was, they said they were inspired to create the scam-a-riffic religion of Rupee Land by voodoo bullshit like fake charm pendants and healing bracelets and all that." But man, bizarre real-life Tingle-style press-on nails, too? Odd odd odd.

Inis Creator On Japanese Indie Game Development

September 21, 2006 5:42 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/yano.jpg Since TGS is kicking off tomorrow, GSW posts may be slowing down a bit more, but here's my latest for Gamasutra - an interview with Ouendan and Gitaroo Man co-creator Keiichi Yano, discussing how independent developers thrive in the Japanese market.

Here's some neat bits: "How about hiring to add to the team at Inis? Yano commented baldly: "Hiring is really a pain in the butt in Japan", noting that for a company like Inis, "it's very hard to get [the right] caliber of person", despite the specialized game schools operating in Japan. However, Inis is starting to attract seasoned developers to bolster its existing staff - the Inis co-founder explains: "We have the lead programmer of Final Fantasy XI on our team right now", an impressive addition to the company."

And more: "So, what's in Inis' future? The company has shown elements from an Xbox 360 technical demo on its website, and Yano confirmed that they are moving ahead, and we will "eventually" see some kind of Xbox 360 game from his company - no publisher or game details yet, though. As for other possible projects, Yano commented enthusiastically: "I want to do a Wii game, like everybody else" - but it doesn't appear that any such title is in active development." Please to enjoy!

Another Code - A View To An Irk?

September 19, 2006 11:10 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/tracem.jpg The Functional Autonomy blog has an interesting post analyzing DS title Another Code, aka [EDIT: Uh, not Lost in Blue, duh!] Trace Memory, and comparing it to traditional adventure games.

The overall take, though? "Basic verdict: Does many tricks of old media while not playing to any of the strengths of games." Looks like this is usability-related, but some fine points are made: "# As the player, I often feel like I’m solely there to double tap in appropriate places to advance the decidedly linear action."

What's more: "# Dialogue is long winded, and interrupts the game without warning. Scripts initiate it far more often than the player, and it’s also so linear that the efforts at making it interactive are laughable... # It often won’t let you pick up items that will obviously be needed, until dialogue pertaining to the relevant puzzle has been activated and sat through." Too harsh? Some claim this is a 'hidden gem'.

Inside Cooking Mama's Manual

September 16, 2006 7:01 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/cmam.jpg Talking of ex-Gamasutra news editor and current Atlus localization guy Mr. N. Maragos, he's popped up at Insert Credit reviewing the manual to Cooking Mama DS in a terribly arch style.

Firstly, he loves up the credits: "Not only is it fascinating to me to see how other outfits divide up the labor, but any list of names past a certain length will yield some real winners. My favorites come from Majesco's QA division: Onix Alicea deserves (his? her?) own J-RPG, possibly by Tri-Ace, while Hunter S. Gollum evokes Tolkien gone Gonzo."

And the terrible conclusion? "Points off for the following: the paper's funky smell when you first open it up, writing "salisbury steak" in lower-case (Salisbury is a proper noun, guys!), slipping in a cryptic mention of apparent wireless multiplayer without ever really explaining how that works, and calling the freestyle cooking mode "Use Skill". (That last is an issue with the game, not the manual per se, but it's still irksome.)" Don't let it happen again!

Everything's For Sale On Nookbay!

September 14, 2006 10:01 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/nookbay.jpg Wait, two Animal Crossing posts in a row? Anyone would think Tom Nook had been bribing us with oranges. Anyhow, Raina Lee (of 1UP-Zine fame) has a column on VH1 Game Break which talks about the auction market for Animal Crossing in-game items.

Lee explains how there's an in-game store in the DS version of the title, and then asks: "What about the items your store doesn’t have? What if you just can’t find the Robo dresser for the rest of your Robo décor? In real life, if you really want a something, you visit an auction site. So there’s Nookbay dot com, where you buy and sell items for bells. The rarer the item, the more the bells."

She then notes: "Just like I do on Bay, I browse the most expensive items first. A Metroid -- 2 million bells... A Carte Blanche to someone’s inventory -- 500,000 bells... A Royal Crown -- 9 million bells... A Complete Mario Set – 10 million bells.. And a Red Glitched Tulip... going for a whopping 30 million bells." I thought you couldn't move the tulips after they were placed? There had better not be Nookbay scammers around!

Animal Crossing's Arwing - Free Prize Or Seditious Spam?

September 14, 2006 5:02 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/acpoo.jpg The ever-furious Tony Walsh has posted on Clickable Culture about Nintendo's in-game method of promoting Star Fox DS within the v.popular Animal Crossing: Wild World.

Though subsequently corrected that the messages from Nintendo are optional, he notes: " Players of the online-enabled town-building game Animal Crossing: Wild World received a... marketing message recently from Nintendo, the game's maker. The message was sent through the game's email system, normally used to deliver inter-player mail as well as free virtual gifts from Nintendo such as home decor and furniture. According to Animal Crossing Ahead, the message refers to the recently released Nintendo game Star Fox Command: "Dear [name], Star Fox Command stats are live! We were going to give you Slippy, but take this instead! Attached to the letter is an Arwing!"

Commenter Dezro notes: "This is a pretty benign thing IMO. No illusion-shattering graphics, nothing you can't turn off... You can even throw out the letter without opening it, and still keep the rare item they send (which is already available in the game - Nintendo didn't just have it there for the express purpose of promotion)." But even more tragically, does this break the fourth wall? Oh my.

That's Cooking On DS, Mama!

September 9, 2006 8:03 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/cmama2.jpg Over at Game Informer Online, they have some excellent hands-on impressions of Cooking Mama DS, which are very informative on why we should care, somewhat, about the Majesco-published DS cooking import.

It's explained: "Cooking Mama begins with absolutely no setup whatsoever. In fact, there isn’t really a story to be found in the game at all. You just select a recipe and start cooking. Players will start out with only a few dishes to choose from and then unlock new ones as they complete meals. All in all, the game has 76 different meals to make with a stunning variety of cuisines. Create tasty chow like fried chicken, rice dishes, pizza, sandwiches, spaghetti, dumplings, curry, kebabs, udon noodles, soup, shrimp, and even ramen."

However, it's also noted: "As far as complaints go, I really wish Cooking Mama had some sort of wacky story to go along with it. Who the hell is Mama and why am I making all of this food? We’ll never know, apparently. Trauma Center could have been just a bunch of surgery mini-games, but because the creators tied in some doctor drama, the game has a fair share of character that you can latch onto. What if you worked at a restaurant and a busload of kids came in and you had to make 15 cheeseburgers in two minutes? It could be cool." Close... but no celery?

Sid Meier, Will Wright GONE WILD!

September 8, 2006 8:09 AM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/simwill.jpg Little more than a post of randomness, let's try to shoehorn two bits of greatness into one cogent set of paragraphs here. Firstly, my favorite game review line of the year so far, from the October 2006 issue of Computer Games Magazine.

It's actually written by Kelly Wand, who is reviewing CSI: 3 Dimensions Of Murder by Telltale, and who explains helpfully: "The game offers an appealing variety of scenarios. One set in the videogame industry involves a game designer who lives in his car and puts scorpions in the beds of his colleagues, which is obviously inspred by Sid Meier." Bravo, Sir.

Secondly, Jeremy Parish has added a fun blog post in which he notes: "So it appears that Will Wright, or at least a poorly-drawn caricature of him, will be working in an advisory role for players in Sim City 3000 for DS. Or as Kohler puts it, he'll be playing the part of Dr. Kawashima." So that's two evil (or just evil-looking) digitized game developers in one day, yikes!

Like They Say, Foxes On A Plane!

September 4, 2006 12:37 PM |

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/starf9x.jpg It appears to be Labor Day in North America, and while we're luxuriating and not, uhh, laboring, we were highly amused by eToychest's latest ' Schwag Attack!' column, named 'Foxes On A Plane'.

As eToy-er and Gamasutra news guy Jason Dobson notes: "While I put the finishing touches on our late (but oh so delicious) Star Fox Command review, I thought I'd share some of the goodies Nintendo was kind enough to send along with the game. I know I've said this before, but Nintendo PR is creative, and nowhere is this more evident than in their video game schwag. Be it chocolate or hamster food, we've seen all manner of goods arrive at our office stamped with the Nintendo seal of approval."

He continues: "However, Star Fox Command's arrival marked the first time we have ever been sent a barf bag. Yes, in celebration of the game's release, Nintendo sent over an appropriately labeled Star Fox air sickness bag, and accompanying Star Fox Command bags of dry roasted nuts. I suppose if playing on the Nintendo DS ever gets too nauseating, I now have the tools for the job."