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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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Katamari Remote-Controlled Toy Mayhem

February 6, 2006 11:03 PM |

kdcars.jpg Via Gonzalo Frasca's Ludology.org, a link to Yury Gitman's Making Toys weblog, which is part of his Parsons School Of Design course, is subtitled 'The Insides and Outsides of Electronic Toy Design', and is cool enough on its own, in a non-video game type way.

But then, of course, Frasca pointed out their Katamari Damacy remote control car game, described as follows: "Two players are needed to play the game. Players can choose Shikao or Ichigo to represent themselves in order to start the game. On the floor there are some objects such as sushi, pencils, ducks, eggs, and so on. Players will race to collect as many objects as possible with their Katamari balls. When the cars move, the Katamari balls will roll up random objects from the floor. The player who collects the most objects wins the game!!!!" We believe Velcro is used. This is cool.

Needless to say, this is totally cute, and the embedded Quicktime movie explains it well. Apart from the recent and rather cool T-shirts, when are Namco going to bow to the inevitable and introduce an endless line of Katamari merchandise? We'd so buy it all.

Get Dotted Out Ice Climbing, Balloon Fighting

February 4, 2006 6:24 PM |

iceballoon.jpg We're not bored of Tomy's Japanese Dots library of pin-toys yet (you may remember the previously referenced limited-edition YMCK pixel toys from the company), and U.S. import store NCSX has just got in the Series 3 set of Ice Climber and Balloon Fight pin-toys, yum.

As the jovial NCSX folks explain of the two new classic NES game-themed sets: "Unlike the earlier Dots sets which featured 2 boards, 2 mounts, and 520 pins to create classic video game characters, Series 3 sets feature 4 boards, 4 mounts, and 650 pins to create heroes, enemies, and entire scenes as shown on the front cover of the Dots sets. With 4 boards to bind together, larger gaming scenes may be designed or the Dots may also be repurposed to create messages and/or daily mantras to follow."

One of the coolest things about the toys is that you can create multiple variations, as pictured on the back of the Series 1 sets, which include Mario, Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Dig-Dug. In the new Series 3, we especially like the Balloon Fight kit, which "shows a balloon-lofted warrior about to receive a kiss from a blue-toothed beast from the deep", though the Ice Climber version in which "a pink parka wearing Eskimo [is] swinging a mallet at an unsuspecting blue parka wearing Eskimo" is also ubercute.

Encyclopedic Knowledge Of Game Machines

February 1, 2006 5:38 PM |

gamemachines.jpg Over at Insert Credit, fellow GSW editor BrandonS has posted a mini-review of 'The Encyclopedia of Game Machines' book, a spectacularly complete history of video game devices subtitled 'Consoles, Handhelds & Home Computers 1972-2005', originally written in German and recently translated into English.

Brandon comments contentedly of the textbook, which has an official website with more information: "This book was written by a German, so there is a heavy bent towards gaming computers. This will be a good thing or a vaguely non-exciting thing, depending on your taste. For me, who didn’t grow up with these things, and didn’t have a computer of my own until 1999, it’s interesting to see where Europe is coming from."

Although relatively little promoted to date, the conclusion from the IC folks for 'The Encyclopedia of Game Machines' is decidedly positive: "One thing that the book does remarkably well is tone. The tone is consistent throughout, and number of pages aside, you’ll see the GP32 and the Wonderswan spoken of as true valued members of our video game community. It truly shows that this was written by a hardware fetishist who appreciates each console based on its unique merits."

Life Meter Takes Video Game Art, Makes It Sing

January 27, 2006 10:30 AM |

kdc.jpg The brand new art-related website Life Meter Comics, billed as "a collection of comics and cartoon art inspired by our love of videogames", has just set up, and it already has some awesome illustrations up.

Probably GSW's favorite so far is the awesome Katamari Damacy mini-comic from Quezzie (who has a larger version on her/his own site), and of which it's noted of the picture in the comments: "It's colored pencil and gouache on Canson illustration board." Wow, real drawing on paper, we remember that!

However, running a close second in the coolness stages are both a gorgeous Zelda: Wind Waker illustration from French artist Bannister, plus a stark black&white illo of Kid Icarus from Pishio artist Zack Giallongo, both of which are both voguish and not simply fanart, stylistically. [via Fort90.]

Japanese, Korean Video Game Shows Showcased

January 23, 2006 6:03 PM |

kgame.jpg When the behemoth that is GameSpot does feature-like content, it tends to be pretty interesting, and so is the case with its news feature on South Korean and Japanese video game TV shows posted today.

The intro notes: "If you think you've seen the best of what TV can do in the area of game coverage, you need to take a trip to Korea. Two cable TV networks, known as Ongamenet and MBCgame, compete for viewers with their own 24-hour programming dedicated to PC and console gaming", before discussing some of the content - apparently, apart from the inevitable Starcraft popularity rush, "South Korean teen supermodel Kim Sae-Rom hosts Hello PS Market, where new Sony PS products are introduced to viewers in the program."

In addition, the piece discusses Japanese show GameCenter CX, which "...stars comedian Shinya Arino and has more of a retro-gaming focus. Arino sits down to play popular retro video games in a small room in front of a camera crew. Arino interviews famous video game designers in-between games and visits popular local game arcades." Sounds like fun - and, as the article says, we really would like to see these translated for the West - we presume TVK24 doesn't have English subtitles for its OnGameNet content?

Guinness Book Of Faux Video Game Records

January 23, 2006 6:12 AM |

bm2.jpg The Guinness World Records have a many and storied history as "an internationally recognized collection of world records, both human achievements and the extrema of the natural world."

But unfortunately, some of the video game-related 'records' on the book's website, lacking the bug eating or death defying of many of Guinness' most famous records, are a little on the, well, odd side. Some are pretty straightforward, such as the Game Boy reigning supreme as 'Most Popular Handheld Videogame System'. And, actually, Yu Suzuki's Shen Mue winning out as 'Most Expensive Computer Game Development' isn't completely insane, since it's quite possible nobody has admitted to a bigger budget than $20 million yet.

But... Black & White's creatures as 'Most Complex Character In A Computer Game'? That's a tad subjective, although apparently, 'The size of the creature's mind increases from 6–7 KB up to 500 KB.' So there. Most of all, how about Beatmania as 'Most Popular DJ-Simulation Video Game' with, uhm, 6,700 copies of the arcade game sold? Oh dear - possibly not completely wrong, just uber-random. Still, it would be fun the dig through the video game records in old editions - anyone want to volunteer? [Via Defective Yeti, who pointed out the Beatmania entry and got us searching.]

SXSW Turns Up Gaming Heat

January 15, 2006 10:50 AM |

screenBurn01.jpg The annual South by Southwest Festival, held in Austin, Texas, features stellar music, film, and interactive tracks. This year the Interactive component of the fest will play host to the first annual ScreenBurn Beta Festival, intended to showcase the future of the electronic gaming industry. ScreenBurn will take place March 11, during the Interactive track's March 10-14 span.

The addition of ScreenBurn suggests the greater South by Southwest festival has embraced gaming as a premier interactive form. Last year, the festival's panels included a look at virtual-world journalism, the "terrible business model" of Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue, and the development of The Behemoth's Alien Hominid.

This year, the South by Southwest Interactive track features panels on virtual-world entrepreneurs and "The Secret Sex Lives Of Video Games." [Disclosure: I'm moderating the sex/games panel this year but am not affiliated with SXSW.]

Gamer's Tome Of Ultimate Power, Excelsior

January 12, 2006 7:06 PM |

2006.jpg Over at GSW, we recently got hold of a copy of The 2006 Gamer’s Tome of Ultimate Wisdom: An Almanac of Pimps, Orcs and Lightsabers, a fun book from Que Publishing that tries to present a guide to 2005's best games and a look forward to 2006's most promising, alongside lots of random fact, tidbits and side articles.

As the press release explains, as well as a plethora of single-page game overviews (both reviews from 2005 and previews from 2006) thanks to author William Abner, there's some lighter material in there too, from a page on Xbox cheat tools, through 'closet classic' pages dedicated to titles such as Little Big Adventure, all the way to a section on 'The Best In Play By Email Gaming'.

Overall, the '2006 Gamer's Tome' a bit of an odd fish, with so-so design layouts and a bit of a weird overarching concept, but it's well-written and includes lots of relevant, well-researched info in it, so if you want to remember what 2005 was like in the game world, and wish to reminisce further back and look further forward at the same time, by all means, grab it.

UK Resistance - Men Of The Cloth?

January 12, 2006 12:30 AM |

ukr2.jpg Those comedy rogues at UK Resistance have, bizarrely enough, gone into the clothing business, complete with hilariously posed pictures of 'models' who apparently don't know how to use popular gaming handhelds.

The actual store, Rival Crews, includes the excellent Sega vest (UKR used to be a Sega Saturn fansite, don't forget!), with the following immortal description: "When you need to feel the safety of Sega, simply break out the SEGA VEST and put it on! You'll feel warm and snuggly! People will also recognise you as a reader of UK:Resistance. Which might be a bad thing, so you should wear it under a jumper if you're going outside."

Now we're just waiting for a 'Blue Sky In Games' tee, which is, of course, necessary to complete our enjoyment of that particular meme. Because we are Nathan Barley.

Super Mario Brothers 3 Scarf

January 9, 2006 4:58 PM |

mario3scarf.jpg A scarf to end all scarves, this beauty was created by hand for the lucky young lad depicted left. The characters from the classic Nintendo title are depicted normally on one side, then in squashed/dead form on the other. Oh, and "the ghosties, fireguys and stone turtles are on both sides cuz they don't die."

Need more information? For those hardcore knitters among the GSW audience: "It's knit with stockinette, and the characters are stitched on using duplicate stitch. the black yarn is malabrigo, and the other colours are various superwashes." Now the question remains - where is mine? [Thanks to Johnnystorm for the tipoff.]