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December 3, 2005

Another World's Chahi On The Industry's Dilemmas

another_world.jpg Edge Online has posted another of its excellent FAQ mini-interviews, and this time it's with Eric Chahi, the creator of "the seminal adventure Another World", and the "troubled" but intriguing Heart Of Darkness.

Chahi is especially compelling when discussing the problems inherent in today's game industry, echoing Warren Spector's recent comments by suggesting: "I'm afraid it’ll be many, many more years before creators and publishers take more responsibility with game ethics. I'm not talking about the un-nuanced politically correct from whom video games bear the brunt, but simply of an underlying ideology. People talk often of violence in games, but that’s not the problem. It’s truly the way a subject is approached, and what is communicated to players that must be considered." But on the plus side, Chahi espresses admiration for "People who try and make things evolve. It can be anyone from established people like Peter Molyneux, Keita Takahashi, or small independent developers who create and publish outside the mainstream." Not all is lost, it seems.

Alien Hominid Co-Creator Goes Train Robbin'

train.jpg Artist Dan Paladin, aka Synj, is a pretty talented guy, having done all of the art direction and character design for The Behemoth's absolutely awesome Alien Hominid (go buy their game/figurine pack, just reduced to $39, and support indie gaming, wontcha?)

In any case, Dan recently released the cute mini-Flash game 'Trainrobber' on his website, made by him and a couple of friends, and it's lots of fun - pick up moneybags being dropped off a train and avoid the sheriff, and you can even play as Alien Hominid himself, as well as some other pretty curious characters. If you like that, don't forget Dad 'N Me, a more fully-featured Paladin-art Flash game in association with Behemoth-er Tom Fulp that's a big hit over at the Newgrounds motherland, and an entry into this year's IGF. Woo.

Game Schools 'Destructive Nonsense', Nintendo 'Subversive'?

ml.jpg Over at Collegenews.org, there's a charming editorial by Ted Rueter, Assistant Professor of Political Science at DePauw University, who starts his anti-game education screed with the somewhat overwrought: "Video game design as a college major? It's yet another sign of the coming of the apocalypse. Schools of higher learning are simply cashing in on a fad that is destructive to society." He continues: "Offering degrees in video game design is to kidnap American education. Higher education needs to be rescued from such destructive nonsense."

Fortunately, Rueter has seized on a particular player in the market that he obviously sees as particularly destructive: "In addition, the content of video games may influence children's atititudes toward gender roles. In Nintendo games, women are often depicted as victims. The covers of Nintendo games show males striking a dominant pose. Many games are based upon a scenario in which a woman is kidnapped or has to be rescued." Well, obviously, the Senate outcry over the extremely controversial Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time has been intense of late, but apart from that? Feel free to read the whole article for a little more much-needed eye-opening.

Nintendogging... During Fashion Shows?

nintendogs.jpg Joshuah Bearman very kindly slung us over a link to his recent L.A. Weekly column, discussing Nintendogs, which introduces the virtual pet concept neatly to non-geek readers by talking about parroting AI entity ELIZA, and even panders to the in-joke oriented among us by referencing Nintendogging, but more importantly, introduces the following priceless paragraph:

"It was at the Ashley Paige runway show during Fashion Week that I realized how
much I’d become bonded to my little buddy Ding Dong. A very lithe Bijou Philips was trotting toward the cameras in a $300 trim-tailored knit bikini, but I was busy opening a can of virtual wet food for Ding Dong, whom I’d just noticed was “famished,” “thirsty” and “filthy.” Oh my god, poor little Ding Dong — I’m sorry I forgot about you! Can you ever forgive me?"

Having sly reporters DS-ing during glamorous L.A. paparazzi events is presumably why Nintendo will conquer the universe, and maybe next time Paris Hilton loses her dog, she can be temporarily placated by playing with 'little Ding Dong'?

December 2, 2005

Tokobot Brightens Up The PSP's Day

toko.jpg Sometimes it's surprising how few original-IP games for Sony's PSP there are, but Game Informer's preview and interview regarding Tecmo's cute-looking Tokobot, a PSP title that features you controlling "the cutest little robots since Megaman", making them "wipe out anything that gets in their way", is a welcome note of third-party originality.

Although GI's preview sadly indicates: "the game manages to shoot itself in the foot in several key areas – first and foremost being the camera", we still have some hope for its potential botacularness, and, as Tokobot producer and Fatal Frame don Keisuke Kikuchi comments: " I just wanted to make a game specifically for PSP. So far, there are several titles available for PSP, but many of them can be found on PlayStation 2. Mostly, what I wanted to do was create a PSP specific game." Hurrah for that, and roll on, more PSP originals.

So You Married A Superhero?

cov.jpg Apparently, The Carnival Of Gamers game weblog post compiler has made a stop at GameChair, and one of the objects of its affection is 'So I Married A Superhero' on Kill Ten Rats, a blog post about what happens when one's wife plays along with your obsessions and gets addicted to City Of Heroes.

As is explained: "My wife hated MMOs. Before we got married, she saw them as competition for limited attention." But now, apparently the contented MMO family games together, and story writer Zubon mentions: "City of Villains is coming, and it brings bases with it. We more or less stopped playing back in July, and I asked if she was interested. “What have I been talking about for the last year? I get to have a Pony Lair and a Pony Car, and I can make the villainous Evil Pony Lady!" He concludes: "So, yes, I need to go pre-order City of Villains. My marriage depends on it." A good thing? Well, certainly a good thing for Cryptic, at any rate.

Ryu Ga Gotoku (Adult Situations, Adult Language, Violence)

GRRRRR!!!Sega's free-roaming, dark action brawler Ryu Ga Gotoku, a game commonly referred to as a spiritual successor to Shenmue (sans neutered protagonist), is clearly meant for adults. Adults with vices, that is. Whether they be liquor, tobacco, or the company of rented women, hard living Japanese will probably feel right at home with the game -- or at least with its marketing campaign. To enforce the notion that video games aren't just for kids, and that grown-ups needn't limit themselves to brain exercise software and train engineering sims, Sega is going "adults only" to hype the game's December release.

Partnering with Zippo and Tsutaya Shibuya, Sega will provide gamers with Ryu Ga Gotoku branded cigarette lighters, as well as shot glasses and an attache case for discrete, on-the-go boozing. Famitsu reports that they've also installed demos of the game at Club Ray, a hostess bar that will let you play with an attentive lady for a small fee.

Additionally, as well as some very cool Takashi Miike short films promoting the project, Sega is also encouraging its more fashionable customers to experience the game through their SegaDirect Web site with a limited edition set of shirts. Designed by Cropped Heads, whose specialty is Japanese thug wear-cum-souvenir satin jackets, they carry a price tag of 6900 yen. That's more than the actual game, for which no North American release has been set - though Sega of America does have the title on its press site, under the moniker "Ogre". We'll be waiting with bated whiskey breath and yellow fingernails for any updates!

Spy Hunter Babies, Like Muppet Babies

spyhat.jpg Knitted objects which reference video games are, of course, the new black, as anyone who's lusted Katamari Damacy hats must be aware. Well, charging into the fray of retro head-warming knitwear comes this excellent baby hat based on classic Midway arcade game Spy Hunter - the pictured angle showcases "a front view, showing the Interceptor itself, shooting flaming bullets at the bad guys."

An earlier post on the Blue Canary Creations website explains the design process, noting that the talented knitter has "stolen the stripe sequence from the cabinet art for the earflaps." Neato. Maybe The Rock needs one to cover his pate for the movie remake? [Via GAF.]

Toc-Man, Orson, And Chomp-Chomp's Pac Attack

pacrally.jpg Over at IGN, there's confirmation of Toc-Man's appearance as one of the kart riders in Namco's forthcoming Pac-Man World Rally - the official bio explains: "Toc-Man was built by a ghost named Orson who found himself an outcast in Pac-Land due to his drab, gray color. In an attempt to be accepted in the colorful ghost community, he constructed the suit out of bright yellow scrap metal and became Toc-Man." Wow, very Darth Vader. But... are you up to date on your Pac-Man mythology?

Orson was created for the Namco Hometek-developed Pac-Man World series, and in an interview with Pac-Man World designer Scott Rogers, it's explained of this relatively recent (1999!) addition: "As for Orson, the original draft of the cinematics was based on the classic movie, "Citizen Kane." Orson is named after "Kane"'s director, Orson Welles." Rogers also revealed that Toc-Man's name "was my [reverse-lettered] nod to Namcot, Namco's original name." Oh, and some sex change controversy: "According to all of [Namco Japan's] marketing material and model sheets, [former guy ghost] Pinky is [current girl ghost!] Sue."

But who are we getting for the bonus riders? Our vote goes to Pac-Man's dog, Chomp-Chomp, as seen in the early '80s cartoon that the arcade game Pac-Land was based on. In any case, more Pac-Man fever can be found in the latest issue of Game Developer magazine, which includes a Toru Iwatani-penned postmortem of the original arcade game.

More Vulcans Per Square Foot, Captain

ex-borg.jpg Bay Area-based MMO firm Perpetual Entertainment is working on both the sandal-totin' Gods And Heroes: Rome Rising, and the 2007 or later-bound Star Trek Online, and it's just released the results of a Nielsen study conducted in September 2005, interviewing around 600 gamers of 'online gamer', 'Star Trek fiend', and 'vanilla gamer' persuasions on the forthcoming Trek MMO.

Particularly interesting was discussions of in-game race: "Our current slate of playable Federation races is Vulcan, Bolian, Human, Trill, Bajoran, Andorian, and Tellarite... As you can see, players overwhelmingly want to play Humans, Vulcans, and Klingons when playing as a Starfleet officer. In retrospect, I wish we would have included ex-Borg and Android as choices in the survey." And, really, who wouldn't want to be an ex-Borg? Also worth reading in the development logs is lead designer Glen Dahlgren's introduction, in which he suggests: "this project is the vehicle that is moving [the Trek franchise] into the future." Boldly?

December 1, 2005

Last Call Poker's Final Graveside Rendez-Vous

last-callt.jpg The cross-media 'alternate reality game' named Last Call Poker, which, as you might have heard, was a promotion devised by 4orty Two Entertainment for Neversoft and Activision's original-IP Western game Gun, wrapped up recently at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, and ARGN has a write-up of the final send-off, explaining: "The story [which was started on the 'Last Call Poker' website] was the final wish of Lionel “Lucky” Brown, a fictional character who passed away earlier this year, and a portion of his estate was used to celebrate his life, with wakes held at six of his favorite cemeteries throughout the United States... dozens of players from throughout the United States and Canada came together to celebrate his life and play one last round of poker... Tombstone style."

Not content with just that, ARGN follows up with a transcript of an IRC chat with the Puppetmasters behind Last Call Poker, with 4orty 2wo's Elan Lee mentioning of their employers: "We got lots of feedback from Activision both in the early phases of design and as the game went on. They were quite pleased at the game's ability to reach an audience traditional marketing would not be able to. They also were very happy that we were able to remove the "Western Cooties" from a genre that's had trouble attracting an audience in the past few years." Ew, Western cooties!

Pac-Bot terrorizes IREX 2005

pacbot.jpg The 2005 International Robot Exhibition is going on now, and one of the exhibitions is a Bandai/Namco-developed robotic Pac-Man game, according to Akihabara News, which is unfortunately light on specific details. It appears as though Pac-Man really just runs round the maze, but may be connected to an actual version of the game played via the console shown. Regardless, it's pretty neat, and the robot seems to be shiny and well constructed!

Steinmeyer, PopCap In Casual Relationship

bb.jpg Although it's only a 'soft launch', PopTop Software founder Phil Steinmeyer has announced that his casual PC game, Bonnie's Bookstore, is now available to Club PopCap members.

Steinmeyer, formerly known for his work on Tropico and later versions of the Railroad Tycoon series, is notable for his public change of development style, offering plenty of comments and feedback on his path from independent development company owner to sole-proprietor casual game maker: "Casual games offer really quick development times. My last full retail PC game, Railroad Tycoon 3, took about 2.5 years to develop with a 13 person team, and that was considered quite small. This new game will be done in about 4 months with a 2 person team (myself and a very talented artist). Very refreshing." True to form, Bonnie's Bookstore looks suitably devious and charming - PopCap plus ex-PopTop = TopFun?

For Relaxing Times, Make It FFXII Potion Time

thirsty_vaan.jpgSquare-Enix, possibly looking to underwrite the mounting cost of its oft-delayed newest Final Fantasy title, has partnered with Suntory Ltd. to create what is sure to be gaming's tastiest beverage, Final Fantasy XII Potion. Suntory, famous for their whiskeys, Boss canned coffees, and oolong teas, will target a relaxing but energizing taste for the drink. Six potential bottles designs were on display, all in blue crystal, as well as character art cards to be included in the Final Fantasy XII Potion Premium Box - there are more pictures over at Impress Watch's coverage. No price has been decided for the licensed Potion, but players will be able to slake their thirst before the game's release in March of 2006.

Slightly less notable than the groundbreaking union of soft drinks and Japanese role-playing was the announcement of Final Fantasy XII's suggested retail price of 8990 yen (approximately 75 USD) and violinist Hakase Taro's contribution to the game's main theme.

Kingdom Hearts II - The Sky Is Falling!

cl.jpg Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II, finally launching on December 22 in Japan and 2006 in the West, is the most lusted-over game for Japanese consumers this holiday season, and keeps peeling away surprise after surprise, from Pirates Of The Caribbean characters through a Tron level, which is now confirmed to include a light cycle sequence, thank God, according to IGN's handy Shonen Jump translation.

But more keen acolytes will have spotted a couple of pictures from the Shonen Jump preview, popping up on naughty French site Jeux-France, and as well as guest appearances from Lilo & Stitch, the piece reveals a special guest summon attack that features... Chicken Little, the star of Disney's equivocally received new CG movie? The end is, indeed, near - keep tuned to Kingdom Hearts Insider, if there's actually any information left to reveal.

Digital Eel's Moddable Space Opera Returns

ww.jpg Those banjo/ukulele-playing scamps over at indie developer Digital Eel have just released Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space, an absolutely excellent 'short game' sequel for PC that thrusts you bodily around a strange galaxy, collecting odd artifacts and dueling in 'an infinitely replayable universe full of danger and surprises', half turn-based and half real-time stylee - there's a demo available for the curious.

In any case, the original IGF-nominated Strange Adventures In Infinite Space had a small but dedicated mod community, creating some great variations on the original title. Now, the chaps at Digital Eel have set up a mod guide for the sequel, 'Modmakers' Guide To The Galaxy', including information on creating a starship, particle effects, and making an alien race. Mm, alien races - go buy the game and try it out.

November 30, 2005

City Of Archvillains, Headed By Admiral Steaksauce

steaksauce.jpg Cryptic Studios' PC superhero MMO City Of Heroes has announced the winners of its 'City Of Archvillains' Halloween costume competition over at its community site, for which the task was to create a real-life villain to match up with your in-game hero. There are some fine pictures in the winning gallery, particularly the winning 'Kor/Votum' duo.

But naturally, by far the best entries weren't the winners, and the full entry gallery reveals the Angelik Madness/Demonik Wreakage duo, a particularly fine example of MMORPG fandom - bonus points for anyone who can identify the convenience store the pineapples are being held up in. Yet above all, Catsheep/Admiral Steaksauce is another outstanding supermarket-related effort - bravo.

Welcome To The Jungle?

gsg.jpg Just a quick note to say that GameSetWatch is officially launched - which, if you're reading this, is incontrovertibly true, right? Over at Gamasutra we have the official announcement, which provides some info on the blogging line-up here that's worth repeating:

"GameSetWatch is headed by Game Developer/Gamasutra EIC and former Slashdot Games editor Simon Carless. Contributors to the daily-updated game weblog, which aims to pinpoint and succinctly link to the gems of video game coverage online, include GeekOnStun weblog creator Michael McWhertor, Edge Magazine contributor Brandon Boyer, LostLevels founder Frank Cifaldi and Wonderland game weblog creator Alice Taylor, as well as Insert Credit co-founder and Game Developer editor Brandon Sheffield." So there you go - stay tuned for the many shenanigans to come on the good ship GameSetWatch.

The Cenix GMP-M6 - Patently A PSP-Thrasher

cenix.jpg The incredibly generic-monikered TechEBlog has details on Cenix's GMP M-6 Korean gaming handheld, with which it is apparently "looking to take on the PSP in [South] Korea". According to the site: "This system features a MiniSD Card Slot, 2″ Widescreen TFT-LCD Display, and FM Tuner", and a couple of built-in games, with '50,000' more downloadable via the web (Java? Flash? Text adventures? Who knows.)

Other vital statistics? "The GMP-M6 measures 90 x 13 x 45.5 mm and weighs just 55g. Fully charged, the system gets approx. 6 hours of video/game play, and 20 hours of music playback on its 3.7V Li-polymer battery. A 1GB model which comes in either black or white will cost $193 USD." It looks a little on the teeny side, and without lots of dedicated game software support, it's probably not going to blow the market away, but heck, it's another novelty geek item to file next to the apparently ultra-buggy GP2X, right?

Super Furry Animals Get 8-Bit 'Lazer Beam'

lazer.jpg For those of you who don't know Super Furry Animals, let's sum up - psychedelic Welsh pop group, once got Sir Paul McCartney to eat celery in time to their music, not as famous in the States as they should be.

But let's add to that list - commissioned excellent video game-related music video [.MOV] for their song 'Lazer Beam', directed by Aurelien and Florian Marrel, and imagining the band starring in their own side-scrolling arcade brawler. Points to note - the Final Fight-style overlay map, and the Metal Slug vs. Moonwalker type 'gameplay', as people are forced to dance by the sheer power of the SFA's sonic weapons. Oh, and now we want to play the 'Lazer Beam' game, and it doesn't exist, damn you all to hell. [Via RobotWisdom.]

Half-Life 2 to Japanese arcades via Taito's Type X

half-life2.jpg Ever since the unveiling of its Windows XP-based arcade board, Taito has been promising some big things. One of these is the arcade version of Valve's Half-Life 2, for which the cabinet and details have finally been released, via a Game Watch Type X super preview. The cabinet features two control sticks, left for moving, right for shooting (and weapons toggle), and two footpedals, left for jump, right for squat. With a 32 inch display at 1,360 × 768 resolution, and six embedded speakers, the cabinet is certainly an impressive one. Data is saved via an IC card.

This is one of the first examples we've seen of the Type X+ hardware, which takes the default Type X architecture and adds more RAM, more processing power, and a more poweful ATI graphics card. And aside from the normal story mode, the game sports a 4 on 4 battle mode, across Taito's hardwired network. At present, they're calling the game 50% complete, with a full-scale Japanese launch planned for March '06. Nothing has been announced for U.S. arcades yet - one only hopes there are still a few left by the time the game actually comes out!

November 29, 2005

Sysadmin Hell - The Interactive Fiction Experience

bv.jpg Game-art site Grand Text Auto recently announced the public availability of Book And Volume, a new Inform text adventure by Twisty Little Passages author Nick Montfort.

As GTA handily explains: "As a sysadmin in Book and Volume’s nTopia, it’s easy to know what to do. Your computer, your pager, and your boss are constantly telling you. And you must spend your Sunday night running around rebooting servers whether you like it or not (there’s a big demo coming up!) or get fired." The official site has more information, and even a link to a non-savable web version of the game using Java, for the curious. There, proof that there's text adventure life outside the (absolutely excellent!) IFComp.

EverQuest II's Vocal Talents, Probed

danica.jpg Extremely entertaining EverQuest II weblog (yes, this is a real statement!) Aggro Me has been poking around the more obscure voice actors used for the multitude of speaking characters in the game, which also includes Christopher Lee and Heather Graham as top-line voice talent.

Among the more interesting in the massive list? Well, there's Mindy Sterling, who, of course, "played Frau Farbissina from the Austin Powers films", and assays Oracle Ulinara, Darmen Sproutmore, and Merchant Novak, among others, in EQII. Heck, there's even Mae Whitman playing Lilly Ironforge, and Mr. Aggro points out: "If you're an Arrested Development fan, you may be interested to know that Mae played Anne Veal, George Michael's very religous girlfriend." As for The Wonder Years' all growed up Danica McKellar punching up Lolla Cotgrove? Say no more, say no more.

Virtua Fighter Gets Five On It

vf5.jpg The insano Sega acolytes over at UK-headquartered website Kikizo sneaked over to document the Virtua Fighter 5 arcade playtest that happened at Tokyo's Club Sega last weekend, and professed themselves extremely impressed with the Lindbergh-based arcade title, as yet officially unconfirmed for next-gen consoles.

Particularly interesting, apart from the extremely pleasant graphics, is the complex online networking for the arcade title: Kikizo explains of the expanded VF.tv service: "What this service provides is an ongoing service that will be in every arcade in Japan. Each arcade will have at least one VF.tv monitor, which will show battle replays of matches (complete with full audio commentary!), advertisements, and player rankings." Sounds pretty smart - watch for the final version of Virtua Fighter 5 in Japanese arcades in April 2006.

'Oh! My! Ouendan' - The Passion & The Power

ouendan.jpg Over at DS weblog Neologasm, they've put up a startlingly literate rave for one of the most popular DS import-only games, the pundit-beloved, and, indeed, GameSetWatch-adored 'Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan' (or 'Oh! My! Ouendan!' if you're translating half-assedly), which was developed by Gitaroo-man creators Inis.

As Neologasm explains: "In Ouendan there is no conventional single hero. In each stage, you play a particular group of people--the cheer squad--who empower the individual heroes of their stories to win conflicts." Why is this so great? Well, it's suggested: "At its greatest, Ouendan is about the triumph of personal responsibility. This is not the communist ideal that "the people" as a group hold true power, or Ayn Rand's notion that when freed to do so, some individual humans can be freed from the dead weight of the common people, but the (I suppose) classic liberal idea that common individuals, empowered and working together, can do great things." Also, it has some great J-Pop, if you're not into the highbrow deconstructionism.

November 28, 2005

The Cage-d Man, Unbound

fah.jpg Edge Online continues its regular 'FAQ' series of mini-interviews by quizzing Quantic Dream's David Cage, most recently renowned for his post-Bowie story-driven piece of intrigue that is Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.

Cage is particularly interested in imbuing his games with emotion, and this comes out in his answer to a question about new developments in gaming: "If you're talking strictly about technology, I'd like to see more technologies related to living characters (body and facial animations, skin, eyes, clothes, hair, etc.) - all the little details that make the difference between a living character and a bunch of pixels." Onward, traipsing across the Uncanny Valley, perhaps?

Miyamoto Guitar-Sign-O, Cha Cha Cha

miyamoto.jpg When Shigeru Miyamoto made a rare public appearance in New York in late September to help promote Nintendogs, all kinds of sensible and non-sensible item signings resulted. One of the less sensible, a guitar signed by Miyamoto himself, is now available on eBay with a reserve price of $700, and the frenzied explanation: "Not only is this guitar autographed by Miyamoto, but he is also the last person who played it!"

Apparently, "The chords he played? The opening chords to the Super Mario Bros. theme song!" Pity it's not a Nintendo-themed guitar, though, since there's a precedence for game-themed axes - the Um Jammer Lammy real-life guitars collected by former GamePro and current Future guitar-loving journo Dan Amrich, for one.

BudgetWatch: 'Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures'

shamu.jpg If, like us, you prowl around your local video game store looking for weird Eastern European-developed family games nobody else cares about, you might have come across Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures, an officially Sea World-licensed adventure title for (deep breath!) PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, DS, and GBA, from Activision Value. As the official website explains: "All is not well within Shamu's beloved SeaWorld Adventure Park - Poseidon wants to steal the magic of the park away from Shamu and SeaWorld." Damn you, Poseidon!

The screenshots show off a surprisingly lush Ecco-esque seascape, and TeamXbox's review reveals 720p support for the Xbox version, calling it "a pretty slick little kid’s game". Plus, in a nefarious piece of 'alternative' marketing, perhaps your tykes found out about the $29.99 game from their teacher, thanks to the LearningWorks lesson plan [.ZIP] posted on the Shamu homepage - sneaky, Activision, sneaky.

November 27, 2005

Inducing 'Flow' Through Shmups

uplift.gifThe clever shoot-em-up fans over at Shoot The Core! managed to spot Uplift, an academic project created by a student at the Georgia Tech Experimental Gaming Lab, Nathanael Ng.

Ng explains in his abstract: "It has been found that individuals engaging in challenging activity such as athletics, coding, or playing video games sometimes enter a state of cognition known as 'flow' or 'the zone'. This is, I believe, a fundamental human capability, yet it has not been formally studied to any significant degree." What better way to study it (utilizing "a biofeedback/neurofeedback interface") than with a frantic abstract 2D shooter, too? Unfortunately, the game isn't online just yet, but the screenshots look like Vectrex-esque fun, and the more degrees we grant through Ikaruga clones, the better shape America will be in.

DungeonDoom, Not DangerDoom

dd.jpg The creators of the 'Roguelike' DungeonDoom mod for Doom III have announced that Version 7.0 XP is now available for download - both Doom III and the Resurrection of Evil expansion pack are required to play. The official page explains of the rather neat mod: "DungeonDoom incorporates most key features of Roguelike games. In particular, levels are largely composed of mazes, which are generated randomly every time a new game is started. Levels have stairs leading either to higher or lower levels of the dungeon. The lower the player descends into the dungeon, the stronger the enemies get. Killed enemies drop gold which then can be used by the player in shops to buy weapons and ammo."

Even wackier, the new version of the mod, V7.0XP, include "alignment system and dynamic storyline influenced by player alignment", and even a new character class, Cardmaster,' based on collectible card gameplay. So that's the Doom III Rogue CCG, then? Sure, I'll take a dozen.

Konami Sees Stateside Style

vicviper_konamistyle.jpgKonamiStyle, the online shop that represents game publisher Konami's game, music, and merchandise interests, has deployed for United States customers. Previously available only to Japanese and European markets, Konami now gives US-based gamers the option to buy online.

At this point, the only wares available are currently marketed Konami software releases. This pales in comparison to offerings provided by the Japanese iteration, which include pants-wetting goodness like Konami property t-shirts, the Metal Gear Solid 3 Extreme Box, arcade quality Bemani controllers and more. KonamiStyle for Europe is not slouch either, with Silent Hill 4 mugs to prove it.

Buyer beware: KonamiStyle American-style currently lists Microsoft specific system requirements (hiss...), but using other alternatives has yet to hurt our browsing experience.

Steed Plays Emma Peel With Waitresses

cw.jpg Over at sister site Gamasutra, they've added a 'Playing Catch-Up' column with former id artist Paul Steed, particularly 'famous' for his somewhat controversial 'Crackwhore' model for Quake II, as well as his larger-than life personality.

Steed's fascination with the female form continued even post-id, though, as he explains: "I was doing these visualizers for [popular MP3 software] WinAmp, this plugin where you have 3D dancing girl at about 10,000 polygons... I came up with the proper solution to the breast bouncing one night over seven Guinnesses with a waitress. I showed her my laptop, and what I was working on, and she happily jumped and bounced for me." After a stint at Microsoft working with James Cameron on Battle Angel demos for Xbox 360, Steed is now a Creative Director at Atari, with an eye for the less carnal and more practical: "I always wanted to work with a publisher, in the sense that I want to affect games and make them better."

If you enjoy reading GameSetWatch.com, you might also want to check out these UBM TechWeb Game Network sites:

Gamasutra (the 'art and business of games'.)

Game Career Guide (for student game developers.)

Indie Games (for independent game players/developers.)

Finger Gaming (news, reviews, and analysis on iPhone and iPod Touch games.)

GamerBytes (for the latest console digital download news.)

Worlds In Motion (discussing the business of online worlds.)

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