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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 October, 2006

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – Halloween Horror Special (part 1 of 2) - Stay Alive

October 31, 2006 11:02 PM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that spotlights movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with an emphasis on the obscure and the misunderstood. This special Halloween edition is the first of a two part look at couple of horror films.]

It's that time of year again, Halloween, which means a couple of things: candy, costumes, and scary movies. And since this column is all about video game movies, how about a look at some scary video game movies? And there's a couple out there, like Silent Hill for example. But what about films that aren't simply scary because of the games they're based upon are also supposed to be? Well, a popular theme in most film dealing with video games that are not based upon one is the concept of video games coming alive, and asking what would happen if pixelated or polygonal character crossed over to the real world. And some filmmakers happen to find this idea "frightening"... two of which we'll be talking about, Stay Alive and How To Build A Monster.

[Click through for more Halloween scariness!]

So You Want To Be A Game Journalist?

October 31, 2006 7:01 PM | Simon Carless

- So, once upon a time there was an article on GSW sister site Game Career Guide called 'So You Want to Be a Games Journalist', by UK freelancer Aaron McKenna. And it turns out that it hit a bit of a sore spot with a bunch of the more freespirited UK game journos and their international friends - not least due to an extended whinge on the very subject of game journalism that McKenna posted on Tom's Hardware earlier in 2006.

Thus, PC Gamer UK's Tim Edwards and Kieron Gillen, among others, organized a simultaneous blog-gasm of 'So You Want To Be A Games Journalist' - not entirely to have a go at McKenna, I don't think, but more to give an impression of what they think from their own perspectives. It's helpful! Soo... here's Gillen's take on the matter, explaining: "Look at the magazine you love. Realise which bits in it are tedious to do and/or a lot of work. Write something to fill that space and pitch it."

Also good is Richard Cobbett, who explains a bunch of stuff, including the very true note: "Of the hundreds upon thousands of people in the world who think 'Hey, I'd like to do that', the overwhelming majority... won't. Ever." And also Tim Edwards, who comments: "Don’t be a donkey, and you’ll probably do quite well at games journalism. Seriously." And the Triforce are being the Triforce - all gas and gaiters. But overall - good information has resulted.

RetroBlast's Motivational Arcade Posters Revealed

October 31, 2006 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

- We've previously covered RetroBlast's quest to find the best motivational poster (Successories-stylee) based around a classic video game image - and now we have the glorious winners, huzzah - overall victor ('Imagination'), which wins arcade controllers, gift certificates, and all other kinds of craziness, is pictured.

The original competition post says: "The arcade champions of yesterday are the lawyers, doctors, engineers, tradesmen and women, and business professionsals of today. In this capacity, most of us, at one time or another have seen the very cheesy "inspirational posters" tacked up in offices all over the world that display a supposedly motivational image and message that I suppose is intended to make us feel inspired while working in our little section of the Death Star. Frankly, I can't stand them and I know others feel the same way. These then will be the target format for our video and arcade game parody!"

So, here are all the winners and honorable mentions, then - sure, it's all a bit Photoshop Phriday, or what have you, but some of the honored mock-ups are pretty smart. Also, we like the incredibly complicated judging methods, so there.

EXCLUSIVE: LimeLife Press Kit Unwrapped, Contains Things

October 31, 2006 12:04 PM |

It was just one week ago that IGN redefined games journalism yet again by posting pictures of guys opening boxes and taking pictures of things you don't have in an exclusive pictorial of a PlayStation 3 which they very professionally defined as "hardware porn."

The vague descriptive paragraph they used was missing a few commas which we think is also part of this new journalism trend and so to be ahead of the curve we have decided to ditch commas completely for this entire post.


Similarly we just got a package containing stuff that you probably don't have and in this exclusive pictorial we will very slowly and intricately open this nondescript FedEx package containing the moment you have all been drooling for the arrival of the press kit for LimeLife a company that makes cell phone games just for girls! Unlike IGN we will not be making porn jokes because girls are involved and if you're talking about girls and not hardware it is sexist and wrong and will get me fired. Click through for more!

[Click through for more.]

Kochalka Busts Out GBA Pocket Music FTW

October 31, 2006 7:14 AM | Simon Carless

- Soooo, talking of Game Boy-related audiovisual fun, we got an email from a certain James Kochalka revealing that he has "...put up a new Game Boy song in the mp3 section at AmericanElf.com" - and it's neeto.

Kochalka explains: "It's called My Chemical Sugar High. The music was created entirely on the Nintendo Game Boy using a program called Pocket Music. The song was inspired by the band My Chemical Romance, or at least by their name (and their eye make-up), because I've never actually heard any songs by that band. Anyhow, it's a song about candy and black eyes, and I'm giving away the mp3 for Halloween. Trick or treat!"

Oh, and here's the lyrics:

"My chemical sugar-high
My chemical sugar-high
My chemical sugar-high
Gave me a black eye.

My chemical sugar-high
My chemical sugar-high
My chemical sugar-high
Gave me a black eye.

My sugar depression
My candy obsession
My lollipop, wish I was dead.

My sugar depression
My candy obsession
My lollipop, wish I was dead."

[Picture via DeviantArt - and we've previously covered Mr. Kochalka's 'James Kochalka Superstar video shot on a gameboy camera by James Kochalka and edited by Pistol Stamen', for those wanting to see more Game Boy audio visual overload.]

GameSetCompetition Winner: Game Boy Camera!

October 31, 2006 2:01 AM | Simon Carless

- The deadline is passed, so now it's time to find out who won the Japanese Game Boy Camera in box, for all your retro several-shades-of-gray picture hilarity!

After much random finger-pointing, it was Luke Osterritter who won out, answering the question:

"How many pictures can the Game Boy Camera hold in its titanically large 1 megabit SRAM memory?"

...correctly with the following statement:

"The answer is 30; not a lot, which is why I like to keep several around in case the mood strikes. :)"

Thanks to all those who entered, and thanks to a couple of people who didn't quite get it right and made us chuckle a bit (sorry, guys, but '1 megabit' is clearly not the answer, and posting the incorrect number of shots as a comment will also not make you win!)

Anyhow, I'm sure we can think of something else fun to give away again soon, so watch out for the next GameSetCompetition in due course.

Confessions Of A Clone Maker - The Aftermath!

October 30, 2006 10:02 PM | Simon Carless

- Over at sister site Gamasutra, we ran a slightly controversial Soapbox from John Andersen last week, named: 'Ripping Off Japan - Japanese Video Game Copyright Protection & Preservation (Or Lack Thereof)'. So we figured GSW was a good place to initially follow up some of the blog feedback.

Firstly, The Inbetween's Mike Nowak had a particularly interesting view on the article, since he was working alongside those who made some CBC Flash web games singled out by Andersen as being 'infringing' in some way (for example: "Sushi Samurai, a clever clone of Burgertime.") Nowak comments, among other things: "Now, I’m not here to argue that those CBC offerings are particularly original. They’re not. But they’re perfectly legal... Spending two thirds of an article attacking some small Flash games, while only giving a half a page mention to the more profitable, lucrative and recent clones by PopCap, hints at the author’s personal bias in the matter."

The 'personal bias' mentioned here is also referenced in some GayGamer.net comments on the same post, in which Raindog comments: "The real shame here isn’t that Flash designers are “ripping off” classic games, but that the classics haven’t become part of the cultural commons yet. Businesses like Andersen’s are really not much better than jackals coming late to the corpse."

Well, I commissioned the article, which we did present as 'Soapbox' rather than cold, hard fact, obviously. Now, I don't read John Andersen as someone who's interested in helping litigate and making scads of money. On the contrary, he comes across (at least to me!) as someone who genuinely cares about IP being respected - he's ended up advising people like G-Mode because he cares about people using their games without asking - and there are some much more egregious examples in the retro arcade game arena that he didn't directly address, I believe.

But one of the things that this controversy is already bringing up is - what really _is_ the law when it comes to IP and game ideas, exactly? For example, why does it feel like (in my mind, at least!) that Breakout is a 'genre' that can be cloned or elaborated on without so much guilt, but Puzzloop isn't? How do we encourage innovation without the innovators being immediately cloned, or is that cloning/deriving just a fact of life that actually helps the medium evolve? [This has come up before on Gamasutra, to much heated discussion.]

Anyhow, I've asked S. Gregory Boyd, who is a _nice_ game IP lawyer, to write a little piece for Gamasutra for later this week on a lawyer's view of how game concepts may or may not be protected - and I think he'll do a fairminded job. In the mean time, I asked Andersen to reply to Nowak's post, which he does after the cut - read on!

[Click through for more.]

Metal Gear Solid Fan? Please To Be Drooling!

October 30, 2006 5:03 PM | Simon Carless

- Another of those periodic trawls around eBay has revealed that seller 'pyhod000' is auctioning off probably the largest Metal Gear Solid-related collection we've ever seen, including all kinds of insane rarities.

On the high end, for example, there's Metal Gear Solid wine for $499 ("A promotional item from Japan... It was handed to Konami's business partners only") and even a complete set of regular MGS trading cards from back in 1998 - which are semi-transparent and smart-looking, btw.

There's lots more promo or rare MGS stuff, so much so that we acn't really list it all. How about the MGS2 promo poster starring Gackt eh? Our favorite collectible of all of these is probably the Ape Escape 3 promo poster which spoofs Metal Gear, complete with simian-lile '...Uki?' and apes with villainous moustaches. Yay!

EGG Music Goes Obscure With Wonder Boy Creators

October 30, 2006 12:12 PM | Simon Carless

- Over at Hally's Vorc.org chiptune music blog points out that the Project EGG digital music store he's involved with has has started distributing a "very rare soundtrack from the unreleased arcade game "Tokeijikake no Aquario"."

He further explains: "Weston, the game company known with "Wonder Boy" series, has developed this game in 1993. It was almost completed, but never released due to the poor result of the location test. Some people say it was not a bad game at all, but 1993 was the worst year for such a "Monster Lair" style scroller as the interest to "Street Fighter II" and [similar titles] were too strong at that time..." Did anyone ever dump this for MAME emulation, I wonder?

The actual album, which is digital-only, is 1890yen ($16), though it does include remixes from popular chiptune artists Shogun, USK, and Blasterhead, which is an awesome idea. However: "Unfortunately the service doesn't accept any orderings from outside Japan. But at least you can listen to previews from all tracks." Hopefully someone will Westernize this service (maybe at slightly cheaper rates?) soon, because it'd be fun/neat to get legal goodness like this.

MC Chris KH2/RE4 Rant Gets All ViralTubed

October 30, 2006 7:14 AM | Simon Carless

- The clever folks at Aeropause have spotted a fun YouTube mashup starring MC Chris, also known as MC Pee Pants for those who watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and visualizing some audio he ranted spontaneously at the recent GameSpot After Hours event regarding Kingdom Hearts II and Resident Evil 4. And it's pretty funny, we think, bar some IM noises and misspelling. Is his voice just... like that?

"Grab the shotgun! You don't need to load it!" Etc. Anyhow, looks like the aforementioned MC Chris has a new album out, sure to be filled with geek references of all kinds, including video game ones - here's a new interview with him over at Wizard Universe, for those who'd like to geek out.

We also note that Chris' MySpace has some new tracks, including 'Kingdom Farts', which definitely has a bunch of game references in the first verse, and 'Townie', which isn't very game-related, but is really damn funky, and needs some lyric transcriptions, plz.

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