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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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Archive For May, 2006

Time Extend Pokes With P.N.03

May 31, 2006 10:13 PM | Simon Carless

xtendpn.jpg Over at Edge Online, they've reprinted a recent 'Time Extend' magazine article on Capcom's P.N.03, and it raises some interesting questions on the neglected title.

The intro notes: "To some, poor sales are almost a guarantee of probity – a coded message that invites the initiated to come inside and get devotional. Look at Beyond Good and Evil, say, or Jet Set Radio Future: they didn’t hit the sales jackpot, but they struck a deep chord with certain players all the same. What’s odd about Capcom’s P.N.03, then, is that unlike other games that vanished at the point of retail, there are few people willing to speak up for it."

But, as with so many perverted gamers who delve deeper, there's a bold claim: "Maybe it’s because P.N.03 is awkward. Its controls make it awkward to play. Its commercial failure makes it awkward to track down in the shops. Crucially, the skewed challenge it presents makes its peculiar appeal very awkward to explain. This is a game that confounds on many fronts." Will anyone else admit to a 'peculiar' attraction to P.N.03 in public? Feel free to do so in the comments, if so.

PlayStation Museum Unearths Further Protos

May 31, 2006 8:11 PM | Simon Carless

bship.jpg It's been a little while since we covered the PlayStation Museum, and the site that's the "culmination of years of research and dedication to the Sony PlayStation" has been adding more neat, obscure material.

A recent exclusive is screenshots and a review of Battleship for PS1, in which you "Experience the thrill of heart pounding naval action amid the surging spray and deafening explosions of real-life combat" - an odd, unfinished and unreleased conversion, but fun to poke at.

Other obscureness which denizens of GSW may appreciate include a comparison of Slap Happy Rhythm Busters, checking out the differences between an unpublished U.S. prototype from THQ and the final Japanese version - "subtle differences like different options available, between match conversations, health bar, and more."

'God Gameth, God Bloweth Away'?

May 31, 2006 6:12 PM | Simon Carless

godgame.gif Poking around on Google News will only bring you pain - that, and a wonderful website article called 'The Purpose Driven Life Takers' on talk2action.org, which links Rick Warren, best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, to the previously GSW-covered Christian RTS game series by Left Behind Games.

Talk2Action claims: "Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians... you are playing a real-time strategy video game whose creators are linked to the empire of mega-church pastor Rick Warren."

Well, firstly, the game is based on the best-selling books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, which, though we haven't read, are pretty sure that they don't advocate killing Jews and gays, even if we find them personally a bit scary. Secondly, Rick Warren doesn't really seem to have much to do with this, as the commenters note: "The international director of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church, Mark Carver, serves on the Advisory Board of the corporation created to develop and market the video game?!? That is some-kinda cheap guilt-by-association!"

Most of all, we don't really know what's going on - but Jack Thompson is quoted extensively (yay!), there's some GREAT illustrations, and the conclusion to the piece claims: "In the one hand, this video game is anti-American, because it endorses roving death squads engaged in faith-based violence without any regard for Constitutional law. On the other hand, the video game is anti-Christian, because it argues that the Kingdom of God can be advanced by using the methods and tools of the kingdoms of this world, namely guns and bombs." Christians, stop smiting Christians, already!

One Life Left, Radio Show Ensues

May 31, 2006 4:14 PM | Simon Carless

oll.gif So, we got a nice note from one of the producers of the One Life Left radio show (which also has a MySpace page, inevitably), and is, as he explains: "...professionally produced and going out on London's Resonance 104.4fm, on Monday afternoons. Our contacts allow us loads of exciting guests to talk to and the opportunity inherent has got us loads and loads of fun contributors, from (gambling) tips to cooking to lexography."

But wait, there's more: "One Life Left is scattered with brilliant regular minifeatures, including: Bedroom Oding / Odds On O'D / Professor Game & Doctor Watch / Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right LA Start / Derek Williams' Free Market Economy / Uncle Charles, Uncle Charles: Is Gaming Cool Yet? / and more. To find out what they are, you will have to listen."

Co-presented by ex-Edge editor Ste Curran and featuring a seemingly endless parade of far too trendy glitterati guests such as Kieron Gillen (the Hunter S. Thompson manque of the NGJ set) and even 1UP Zine's Raina Lee (clearly the Kim Gordon of the video game zine world), this is clearly worth checking out. Unless you're a muppet. Are you a muppet?

MMOG Chart Upgrades To V20.0, Shows E3 Faves

May 31, 2006 2:22 PM | Simon Carless

wow0.jpg Good ol' SirBruce has updated his MMOG Chart again, up to v20.0 (!), and he notes of his latest additions: "This is a major update, with updated numbers for many games, most notably World of Warcraft, Eve Online, RuneScape, and most of NCSoft’s titles. I’ve also added three new MMOGs to the tracking data: Tibia, The Matrix Online, and Dungeons & Dragons Online."

The charts themselves, focusing on the rampant success of World Of WarCraft, and now with separated-out charts for Asian PCU figures, seem to be the main focus (though there are still some kinks in there with games released in both territories, like WoW and Lineage II). But we focus more on the obscure analysis - we had no idea that as of the beginning of 2006, Ultima Online "had about 130,000 subscribers worldwide, with about 70,000 of those in Japan" - more JP subscribers than Western? Wacky.

Also, SirBruce's extended E3 2006 MMO report is one of the best pieces of reportage we've seen from the show - he comments: "Picking a clear winner this year was quite difficult. Nearly all of the titles had something in particular going for them. I was also impressed by the graphics in almost every title; it seems technology and tools have progressed to the point that even a small MMOG title can have excellent graphics." Most interestingly: "The titles that fellow MMOG players seemed to be impressed with the most were Tabula Rasa, Huxley, and Age of Conan" - not what we would have guessed.

Fun Fun Fun On The Autobahn Tokio

May 31, 2006 12:22 PM | Simon Carless

3dbahn.jpg Continuing GSW's wish to be the only website ever to link to the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer weblog, we note a new review of uber-obscure Japan-only 3DO title Autobahn Tokio, which the blog's author claims may be a seminal early 3D racing game.

He explains: "Autobahn Tokio is actually Ridge Racer meets Gran Turismo meets Battle Gear or Initial D. After Ridge, before Polyphonic, before anyone thought an AE86 was cool there was Autobahn Tokio on the 3DO. It's red car verses yellow car, hinting towards real racing dynamics and the recognisable cars of Gran Turismo or Initial D."

Although the game itself is 'not great', apparently, "Moving onto the tracks, particular the night city one, these are undeniably Gran Turismo. The night city mode is Special Stage Route 5, the mountain route is Grand Valley Speedway and the forest route is Deep Forest Racing Way. Of cause GT didn't make it to the PS1 for another 4 years after Autobahn Tokio was released. I don't care what anyone says - they, the 3DO ones, are the originals... the circuits are fairly short but eerily familiar." Hurrah for 3DO-based conspiracy theories!

ZeroOne Makes San Jose Interactive City

May 31, 2006 9:14 AM | Simon Carless

rbal.jpg Since it's my hometown, I'm rather intrigued by August's ZeroOne San Jose Festival, billed as a happening that "will transform San Jose into the North American epicenter for the intersection of art and digital culture by showcasing the world's most innovative contemporary artists."

Seems pretty highbrow, but we note some game-related content of some neatness sneaking in there, especially ARG-like content for the 'Interactive City' part of ZeroOne, such as 99 Red Balloons from Jenny Marketou and Katie Salen, "a game in which players must master the art of public persuasion by convincing non-players to enter the game and play."

According to the description: "Players take on the roles of Spy Fairies, each armed with a large helium balloon and wireless camera, which record the game play as the Spy Fairies work to collect as many followers as possible before time runs out... Footage from the Spy Fairy cameras is beamed back to the game Headquarters, where the progress of each Fairy can be tracked onscreen." It's all incredibly The Prisoner, isn't it? Yay!

Avatar-Based Marketing For Profit, Profit

May 31, 2006 7:22 AM | Simon Carless

techw.jpg Former GSW blogger Tony Walsh has spotted an interesting new article on avatar-based marketing in the Harvard Business Review, and he likes what he sees.

Walsh comments: "The extensive article is detailed but easy to digest, leading readers new to virtual worlds (specifically, Second Life) through the basics and nuances of avatars, covering some of their current and potential relationships with marketing efforts. What most impresses me is the degree of research Hemp's apparently done, and the fact that he covers the potential for avatar-marketing failures."

The full article expands on this further, noting: "This new marketing landscape and audience come with all kinds of pitfalls. There are technology constraints. Stagecoach Island moved from the technology platform on which Second Life is built to the platform underlying Active Worlds, another virtual world. The Second Life platform required too much computer hardware capability of users, according to Collins, the Wells Fargo marketer." Definitely good to see realistic weighing-up of issues as well as advantages, here.

Sony PSP Merchandise Luxuriates In Its Own Price Tag

May 31, 2006 5:09 AM | Simon Carless

signa.jpg Courtesy of Game-Science, there's information on Sony's new PlayStation Signature merchandise series, some _extremely_ high-end lifestyle tie-ins.

As is explained: "In a move to push the PlayStation brand into a lifestyle brand, in which the PlayStation means something beyond games, Sony announced the release of "PlayStation Signature" lifestyle items in Japan, which includes various items for the PSP and for upscale people in general. Most of the items will be available from 14 June, at the PlayStation Square in Sony's headquarters in Tokyo."

A Japanese-language Impress Watch article has lots of pictures of the line - we particularly like the super-custom 'EMILIO PUCCI X PLAYSTATION Signature PSP Case (each one unique)', but at 33,000 yen ($294), you could buy more than one PSP for the same price.

Japanese Killer Games Get Many Zs

May 31, 2006 3:15 AM | Simon Carless

cero.jpg Excellent import-centric blog SiliconEra has posted about the new Z-rated game list in Japan, where the official rating system just changed: "Now there are two distinct ratings for “M” type games. A game gets a “D” rating if it’s made for gamers 17 years old and the “Z” rating is for game is for adults only (18+)."

Most interesting, though, it the list of games that now merit a Z: "Currently only a few games landed the infamous Z rating and they are: Driv3r, Max Payne, killer7, Grand Theft Auto Double Pack, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Grand Theft Auto III, The Getaway, The Getaway: Black Monday, Berserk, Simple 2000 Vol. 61: The Oneechanbara, Simple 2000 Vol. 80: The Oneechanpuru."

Well, Western-created games really _are_ doing well on that list, aren't they? Or 'well', I guess we should say - though the disgusting Grasshopper Manufacture and the D3 folks from Japan also sneak on there - dubious congratulations go to them.

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