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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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Mobile Phone Gaming Out of Control?

April 6, 2006 12:47 PM |

mPlay01.jpgAre your fingers too plump for button-mashing gameplay on your mobile phone? Thanks to MobileChaos, you can fatten up your phone to match your dumpy digits with its brand-spanking-new MPlay attachment. Simply slide your phone into the waiting arms of the MPlay's universal holder, clamp that sucker in, attach your handset's phone adapter and enjoy the same D-Pad and multi-button goodness handheld console gamers have been enjoying for over 15 years.

When your phone rings, quickly rip out handset's phone adapter, unclamp your phone, and yank it from MPlay's universal holder. Hopefully in time to answer the call. Or, just shove the entire handset/controller combo against your ear. Suddenly, the MPlay add-on makes the original N-Gage and its goofy sidetalkin' setup seem stylish.

Gamer's Quarter Debuts Issue 5

March 28, 2006 6:16 AM |

gq5.jpg Just before the weekend, an alert went out - there was nothing that could be done, but the new 5th issue of The Gamer's Quarter, sporting an "enormous 114 page monster of goodness" in terms of old, 'new', and busted game writing, had debuted.

It turns out you can also pre-order a print version of the issue, but for those just content to download the PDF [.ZIP], this will also work perfectly well for you.

Our favorite section is probably 'Phoenix Wright and the Turnabout Hair-Burger' by Mariel "Kinoko" Cartwright and Jonathan "Persona-Sama" Kim, another delightfully deranged comic.

But 'Not New Games Journalism Manifesto' by J. R. "Mr. Mechanical" Freeman, which talks to Kieron Gillen and Jeremy Parish (though apparently without the latter's permission to reprint), is a reasonably fun jaunt through hilarious navel-gazing, for old time's sake. We at GSW are currently practicing Fossilized Game Journalism, incidentally. The Black Belt 'Toasty' version.

Accordion Hero Gets Vitally Important Postmortem

March 14, 2006 6:10 PM |

aheromega.jpg So, we really can't get enough of Accordion Hero creators Schadenfreude Interactive, the Black Forest's leading game development force, and are delighted to see that sister site Gamasutra is running an exclusive Accordion Hero postmortem as part of the continuing 'Schadenfreudian Slips' column.

Among the gems revealed within is Schadenfreude's 'unique' method of game controller prototyping: "Although most of us had played the accordion, we had never designed a game controller before! I quickly threw together a prototype made of dryer ducting, two cheese graters, tape, buttons, and a few Werther's Originals. It took a great deal of imaginary accordion playing to determine where the buttons should ultimately go, and the cheese graters scratched Crispin's hands up pretty horribly."

In addition, there are some genuine development insights, leading us to suspect that the Germans have been reading the Guitar Hero postmortem in Game Developer magazine's February 2006 issue, even though the game is CLEARLY COMPLETELY UNRELATED.

In particular, there's this practical gem on translation issues: "Naming your band is an important part of the game (your band's name will appear in newspapers, on banners above the stage, and, at the highest levels, engraved upon beer steins), and any proper band will have at least two umlauts in their name. Making sure all these special characters are correct can be difficult. Luckily, Otto has written an umlaut-checking script called Diacritical Path, which smööths the process considerably."

'Video Game Art' Author On... Video Game Art

March 11, 2006 9:07 AM |

videogameart.jpg After somewhat of a hiatus, the LA Weekly's Joshuah Bearman has returned with an interview with Nic Kelman, editor of the book Video Game Art, which we previously mentioned on GSW back in December.

Kelman seems positive as an advocate for games as art since he's, well, not in the game industry, but still points out: "Look at some of the best design in video games — the colossi in Shadow of the Colossus, or the character design in Psychonauts — that you’re not seeing anywhere else. One of the points of the book is that we’re on the verge of games coming into their own as a medium. Breakthroughs are happening. It’s one game in 50, yes, but that ratio exists in any art form."

Also rather wonderfully overwrought, but arguably correct, is Kelman's commentary on the MMO: "And in MMOs the gameplay itself is often boring. But people are addicted. It’s this constantly unfolding drama with a giant cast of complex characters. They’re complex because they’re real people. And that’s the tip of the iceberg for real emotional connection. I mean, people are dying from dehydration playing these games. When was the last time anyone died from being so engrossed with Proust? Never." So... WoW is the new Proust?

I Am 8-Bit Showcases New Art, Book Info

March 2, 2006 6:12 AM |

biskup.jpg We've previously covered the latest incarnation of the excellent 'I Am 8-Bit' art exhibit and book, and Game Informer Online now has new images and info on this year's 'I Am 8-Bit 2.006' art show.

According to the article, "On Saturday, April 22, the exhibit will play host to the official book release party. Here, show goers can pick up the book, and get it autographed by artists and authors. Plus [curator Jon] Gibson noted there will be a surprise DJ, the band 8-bit Weapon will play, and there will be a Capcom themed bar (who will sponsor the exhibit) with Capcom inspired cocktails." Mm, Capcom cocktails - sold!

Gibson also comments on some fresh interactive exhibits: “This year there will be a few surprises, kind of like the NES controller, that I’m not going to divulge. But if you show up you’re going to be surprised. If all comes together it’s going to destroy the 8 foot NES controller." We're very much looking forward to it, since 'I Am 8-Bit 2.006' is also open during E3.

Ore Commander, Shock C - Revolutionizing Peripherals?

February 16, 2006 12:21 AM |

shockc.jpg Every once in a while, there's a news story so demented that you may think that it's entirely fictional. This is the case with a recent Tim Rogers-penned piece on Insert Credit which discusses Japanese peripheral developer Hori's range of bizarre 'PeriBorg' peripherals, designed by Eiji Morikawa.

After all, Rogers is a rampant baby-eating egomaniac who, like, makes things up, right? Well... half-right. Actually, as you can see by the PeriBorg official site, insane controllers like the Ore Commander ("a rubber-band-equipped finger clip attached to a wrist-mountable battery pack... if you let the... tip of your thumb hover over a [PS2] controller button and then flex it ever so slightly, your thumb tip will begin to vibrate [for super-fast button pressing]), well, actually exist.

But the coup de grace? It has to be the Shock-C, "a pair of scissoring, knuckle mounted plastic eating utensils, positioned so that you can hold something in your hands (like a game controller) while also eating out of, say, a bag of potato chips." Forget the Nintendo Revolution controller, I think we've found the future of gaming, right here, right now.

Stay Alive, Watch Video Game Horror Movie

February 15, 2006 12:10 AM |

stayalive.jpg A couple of the GSW editors received a 'mysterious package' the other day (pictured at left, next to our friend Godzilla!) - a white unlabeled DVD in a white DVD case, with the words 'Stay Alive' in a blood-like font on the front, and the URL canustayalive.com.

Well, turns out the disc has a DVD trailer for the game-themed horror movie 'Stay Alive', opening in the U.S. on March 24, and co-starring Frankie 'Malcolm In The Middle' Muniz and Adam 'The Hebrew Hammer' Goldberg, among others. The game disc in the movie is the same as the disc GSW was sent - therefore we currently fear for our lives.

There's also a trailer on the official site, spouting some such nonsense about there being '100 million gamers in America', and 'a quarter being addicted', and the UHM page for the flick explains: "Follows a group of young teens in New Orleans, who stumble upon a new video game called Stay Alive. The game details the grisly true story of a 17th century noblewoman known as 'The Blood Countess.' A chilling connection is made when the gamers are murdered in the same method as the character they played in the game." Uhoh, we're pretty sure The Blood Countess isn't bringing cupcakes. Or good in-game CG.

Dot S Mania Reaches Bubble Bobble Land

February 13, 2006 6:14 PM |

bubbob.jpg It was only a few days back that Series 3 of Tomy's .S pin-toys were featured on GSW, and now Japanese site Impress Watch has pictures of the next .S toys.

As you can see, the rather wonderful new toys, which feature boards, mounts and pins, and have multiple possible patterns, include, oh my, both Bubble Bobble and Ghost 'N Goblins toys.

Licensed from Taito and Capcom respectively, the titles join the previous .S toys, which include Ice Climber, Balloon Fight, Mario, Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Dig-Dug. Gotta catch 'em all?

Hardcore Gamers Gets Aces With Eight

February 11, 2006 12:36 AM |

HGM8.jpg The people behind the PDF and print Hardcore Gamer Magazine, who also run the much-praised strategy guide firm DoubleJump Books, have released Issue 8 of the magazine for free download, yay.

The magazine is actually startlingly good-looking, and also features plenty of otaku-friendly content, from a feature by Roger Danish on 'Console Curiosities' (including the Generation Nex, Treamcast, Gameking) to a plethora of previews and reviews of console, mobile, and eclectic games - there's even a whole bunch of advertising from companies like Nippon Ichi and Southpeak Interactive, showing that a hybrid print/online mag can get at least some commercial interest from advertisers.

Anyhow, go check out the PDF version, or maybe even subscribe to the whole magazine - 12 issues for $25 isn't bad, and I'm betting these might be collector's items for Kevin Gifford-like magazine accumulators in a few years.

Way of the Rodent Interviews Trip, Produces Shirts At Various Humor Levels

February 8, 2006 7:42 PM |

worshirt.jpg Way of the Rodent, which is quite a good webzine if you've never seen it, has a new issue up. It includes features such as their typical quirky interview. This time it's with Trip Hawkins, and is basically awesome.

An excerpt: "Q: Did you ever meet the heavy mob from Atari back then? Was it literally like dealing with the Sopranos? Looking at the pictures now it seems that way."
"A: Oh yeah, of course! Jack Tramiel was fond of showing us his serial number from the concentration camp. These were very intense and aggressive people."

So yeah. Also includes an unrequited love note for the C-64, and a technical article from a homebrewer for the Pokemon handheld. If I owned my own magazine, it'd probably look like this. But on paper! There are also reviews, but who wants to read those? Read the Peter Molyneux bonus feature and feel important for getting the references, instead.

So onto the shirts part - WoR has come up with some T-shirts, many of which are completely excellent. A Tetris shirt that says 'Nevermind the Blox' in the Sex Pistols font? Well, that's clever!