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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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PlayStation 2

Compile Heart Blasts Rogue Remake For PS2

January 15, 2007 5:41 AM |

- Well, this is news that should really be left for JohnH's regular '@Play' GSW on the subject, but since he's not posting again til next weekend, I'd better to it for him - a NeoGAF thread reveals that a Japanese remake of Rogue for the PlayStation 2 has been announced, blimey!

The always slightly grumpy Duckroll (who can read the Japanese!), comments in the thread: "This is being published by Compile Heart [here's an Insert Credit post on them - as commenters note: "They are a descendant of legendary developer Compile. Moo Niitani, creator of Puyo Puyo, works there. Right now they are developing an original puzzle game for arcade and Wii."].... It is being developed by Plophet, a tiny developer best known for the D3 published Simple series games The Maze and The Dungeon RPG. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that the "supervisor" is the Japanese guy that originally translated Rogue and all support docs into Japanese." Informative, if glass half-empty!

Anyhow, the game is called Rogue Hearts Dungeon, and there's a Game Watch Japanese-language piece with lots more pics - here's the Wikipedia page for Rogue for those wondering about its history. I wonder how the copyright/licensing worked in this case, if at all? Also, some hyper-niche publisher should pick this up for the States, hah.

RPGFan Gets JRPG Crazy, Picks 2006's Best

January 14, 2007 12:15 PM |

- Another good site that lacks an RSS feed is RPGFan, and thus I just spotted (a little late, perhaps!) that the Japanese RPG-centric site has its 2006 Game Of The Year Awards online, with some interesting perspectives.

The best overall RPG of the year, according to the folks there? Square Enix's Final Fantasy XII, of course, for which it's explained: "How dazzlingly unexpected! While most of you out there were expecting either this game or Twilight Princess to snag this award, the long development cycle and change of pace for Final Fantasy XII left many gamers waiting in trepidation. Luckily, the new team delivers completely."

There's also a slightly hidden page of editor picks, for which the most relatively unexpected pick is Lost Magic for the DS: "I know what you're thinking: "how did some short, dinky DS game end up on a top five list?" Let me spell it out for you. This RTS/RPG hybrid made better use of the DS's capabilities than any other RPG on the handheld to date."

Miike's Film Take On Yakuza Gets Trailer

January 7, 2007 8:08 PM |

- Over at excellent foreign/alt.film weblog Twitch, they've posted info and links to a v.brief QuickTime version of the teaser for Ryû ga gotoku: gekijô-ban - film director Takashi Miike's movie based on Sega's PS2 game Yakuza.

There's an interesting note directly after that: "Ryû ga gotoku: gekijô-ban shouldn't be confused with Takeshi Miyasaka's Ryû ga gotoku - jissha-ban, which Miike is credited as having been the integration director (sôgô kantoku) for.)" Those promo movies for Yakuza itself have been credited directly to Miike in a few places I've seen, which must have been not quite right - and no, i have no idea what 'integration director' means either.

Anyhow: "Toei Company Ltd. (Tôei K.K.) is scheduled to release Ryû ga gotoku: gekijô-ban theatrically in Japan on March 3rd of next year." (Miike is latterly most famous for his banned-from-Showtime 'Imprint' episode for Masters Of Horror.) And incidentally, Yakuza 2 is already out in Japan, though I'm not sure it's been selling too well, since I haven't seen it in any recent charts?

[UPDATE: Commenter 'spot778' handily divulges: "Yakuza 2 is up to 444,500 units as of Dec 30. Not too shabby as Yakuza 1 is clocking in around at 516,250 as of the same date." That's much better than I expected, and probably helps explain the film and general interest in the franchise. Go Sega!]

Super Street Fighter II, Sirlin-ated

December 30, 2006 2:31 PM |

- Game designer and producer at Digital Eclipse, David Sirlin (who incidentally produced Gamasutra's most-viewed article of 2006 in his lambasting of World Of Warcraft) has just finished work on Capcom Classics Collection 2 for PS2/Xbox, actually one of the least-discussed retro game products to come out this holiday season.

In any case, Digital Eclipse has gone an extra mile with the extras in general (here's the game listing, btw). But Sirlin is a major fighting game fan/expert in particular, and his personal blog has posted links to YouTube versions of the Super Street Fighter II Turbo tutorial videos, narrated by Sirlin, from the game itself. As he explains: "These videos are meant to help new players see the game in a way they might not have thought of (as a collection of rectangles dueling for control of space)."

What's more: "They also demonstrate lots of the standard techniques in Street Fighter such as 2in1s, “meaty” attacks, and reversals. I also show some advanced stuff with “button up” special moves and safe jumps at the end. Basically, there’s a little something for everyone from beginner to expert." The advanced video, covering stuff like 'Instant Overheads' and 'Piano Inputs', is a fascinating look at the jargon and reality of Street Fighter II expert players - and it actually makes sense, too! Great stuff.

[Also, Sirlin just posted his 2006 game awards, which are opinionated and crunchy - for example, Metroid Prime Pinball in his top 3 games of the year: "Metroid Prime Pinball is, for me, the perfect pick-up-and-play DS game. I don’t have to remember where I was in some huge story or map, or how this or that mechanic worked. I can just play for a few minutes, or for an hour if I want to try to get all 12 artifacts."]

A Passionate Defense Of God Hand

December 30, 2006 7:32 AM |

- Over at Hardcore Gaming 101 (which needs an RSS feed already, so we don't forget it!), there's an excellent two-page article discussing Capcom and Clover's God Hand, the PS2 title which debuted in the States earlier this year to alternately mystified and grinning reviews, and has clearly sold not a jot.

There's a handy, if stylized intro, too: "God Hand is the brain child of Shinji Mikami. After finishing off Resident Evil 4, Mikami moved to Clover Studios... After leaving Capcom Production Studio 4, Mikami had a meeting with Atsushi Inaba (Viewtiful Joe, Okami). Mikami brought up the issue to Sushi that action games today were all about weapons and not about fist fighting anymore. Gone were the days where you only had one button, two fists, and five different bad guys to beat down. That was the feeling Mikami wanted to capture."

There's also some great info on specific changes in the Western version: "When brought across the sea, several changes were made to the game to prevent confusion. The most minor change is the renaming of the God Reel, now called God Roulette. One item in the game called Chihuahua Curry was changed to Puppy Pizza. Curry is a popular delicacy in Japan, while here in America it is relatively unknown. Another change includes the removal and addition of a new attack. In the Japanese version, Gene had a pan technique he could use from the God Reel."

Apparently: "For a small bit of damage, a pan will fall from the sky and knock Gene on the head, granting him invinciblity for a couple of seconds. Why this was removed is beyond me. Maybe it was the sense of humor, maybe it was because in super plays, people were abusing it. But then again, the whole reason anybody would use this technique was to sacrifice a small bit of health for invincibility. Instead, we got a new move called Head Slicer. The only thing special about this move is it's ability to remove an enemy's head. No blood, only a decapitation that works randomly." Great! And nice work, HG101.

GameSetCompetition: Karaoke Revolution American Idol Winner

December 28, 2006 4:01 PM |

- Time for the results of our most recent GameSetCompetition, which dared to dabble in the arcana of Simon Cowell's loopy trouser heights and Randy Jackson's 'Yeah, dawg'-isms.

More specifically, Konami were giving away a T-shirt and a copy of Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol for PlayStation 2 plus microphone to one lucky GSW reader, as part of a promo related to their virtual American Idol contest at MusicInEveryDirection.com.

The lucky victor this time is Joe Fourhman, who was one of a few to correctly identify the publisher of the previous American Idol game, as follows:

Q: "Which UK-headquartered publisher published the (sorry, not actually very good!) previous video game based on American Idol?"
A: Codemasters.

Thanks to all who played this time, even if the reality TV vs. GameSetWatch overlap in the Venn diagram isn't particularly large. We'll try to give away something much geekier next time, like Yu Suzuki's nose hair or similar.

Rooster Teeth Make Upset Footballer Feel Better!

November 30, 2006 8:00 PM |

- Damion Schubert over at Zen Of Design has linked up a hilarious chain of events involving a TV ad that the Rooster Teeth folks (of Red Vs. Blue machinima fame) did for Madden on the PS3, and then some extremely wack fallout that followed it. We'll have Schubert explain things:

"1. The Red vs. Blue team makes a commercial for Madden, which shows a digitized Dallas Clark, tight end for the Indianapolis Colts, getting decleated repeatedly, and in slow motion.

2. Dallas Clark reports to the local media that it’s humiliating, and that guys in the locker room are razzing him for it.

3. The Red vs. Blue team apologizes and offers a Director’s Cut, in which Dallas Clark is portrayed as a minor god."

As Schubert says: "I swear, I love living in the digital age." We completely agree. Also, those Rooster Teeth folks are pretty funny, even when it's humor about football. Surprising!

Mount Lucinda Green’s Equestrian Challenge!

November 23, 2006 5:02 PM |

- Since it's Thanksgiving, we thought we'd give thanks for PS2 equestrian titles - in this case, the North America release of Lucinda Green's Equestrian Challenge, which "delivers a true-to-life experience of the sport as well as the simulation of raising and training your own horse", apparently.

For some reason, it feels like small publishers used to be dissuaded from releasing this type of game on PS2 in the States because of SCEA's stricter approval policy - or maybe that's just in my mind. Either way, apparently: "Lucinda Green, known for winning the Badminton Horse Trials a record six times, offers her sage wisdom as a rider in this family-friendly game to help guide players through horse trials at the most prestigious international equestrian events, such as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event."

What's more: "Players train under the tutelage of Lucinda at a beautiful country estate where they will learn the fundamentals of the equine art, which includes lessons on how to improve the mental and physical state of a horse and the rudimentary of dressage, cross country, and show jumping." Oo, beautiful country estate! Wait, this title isn't aimed at me, is it?

GameSetEbay: Silent Hill DVDs, Tekken... Laserdiscs?

November 23, 2006 12:01 PM |

- Haunting eBay on the verge of the holiday, I came across a couple of auctions that will likely interest GameSetWatch viewers - one for its surprisingly high price, and the other for its exceptional obscurity (and, actually, its surprisingly low price right now).

Firstly, we have the 'Silent Hill Lost Memories' DVD, which is currently going for over $160 with about 6 hours still left to go on the auction. There's a really nice review of the 2003 disc over at Monsters At Play which explains: "The disc is divided into 7 main sections, each of which explores a different aspect of the Silent Hill universe" - there are lots of obscure trailers and the full soundtracks to each of the first 3 Silent Hill games, too. Looks like this is getting pretty tricky to find!

In addition, there's a Tekken gameplay laserdisc from 1995 elsewhere on eBay, something I've never seen before. The seller notes: "A rare 1995 laserdisc from Japan produced by Namco with gameplay strategies, special moves, and character profiles for the first Tekken game. Of course all the dialogue is in Japanese, but this is very fun to watch and runs for about 70 minutes. As a bonus to the winning bidder, I will throw in a DVD-R with all of the contents of this laserdisc (so you can watch it on your DVD player)." And it's at just $5 right now - Tekken fans, go for it!

On Rule Of Rose's Italian Melodrama

November 20, 2006 8:11 AM |

- Matteo Bittanti, who is from Italy, and therefore knows a thing or two about it, has written an excellent long-form discussion of the controversy surrounding Rule Of Rose's European release, as recently covered by Gamasutra and a number of other sites.

Bittanti starts by noting: "Crusades against videogame, especially in technophobic Italy, are as common as rain in November. However, this particular case is fascinating because it is the result of a series of media industry abuses, crass incompetence, and moral panics." Interestingly, this story made it all the way to the front page of The Times in the UK, though, a pretty well-respected paper.

He then sketches European distributor 505 Game Street's alleged attempts to find an 'angle' to sell the PS2 game (which has not, I suspect, sold that well for Atlus in the States) around Europe, noting its hiring of a firm called Media Hook, and explaining: "The philosophy of Media Hook, as described in the company's website, is to create "hooks", stories that media will find interesting." In fact, Bittanti suggests that a major Italian news story headlined "He who buries the little girl wins" may be in some way a bid for publicity partly arranged by the firm.

In any case, however it got into the press: "Panorama's cover story prompted the Italian government to launch a parliamentary discussion on videogames. On November 14 2006 - with unusual alacrity for Italian standards - the members of the Italian parliament gathered to discuss the creation of an independent committee that will evaluate the content of videogames. None of the politicians seemed aware of the existence of the PEGI initiative." For me, this is the key here - there are already pan-European game ratings standards, and the game is rated 18+ - so isn't this a tad witch-hunt-y, yet again?

[Now, you may remember Gamasutra ran a creator interview earlier this year which was, indeed, headlined 'Why Rule of Rose May Be 2006's Most Controversial Game'. But it wasn't the violence, rather the hints at underage sexual feelings that we thought were particularly likely to raise eyebrows. But maybe we're part of the media frenzy too, eh?]