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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 June, 2010

More Artwork From The Beatles' Rock Band Trailer

June 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Last September, we featured some of Alberto Mielgo's gorgeous artwork from the first half of The Beatles: Rock Band's superb trailer, which looked to tell a "brief story of young Beatles." Mielgo unfortunately took those images down not long after posting them, but they're back up again!

He's also put several new pieces up showing the Fab Four running through Liverpool and jumping through cars to avoid crazed fans. "All this first half was 2D and AfterFX (with some minor exceptions)," explains Mielgo. "So, as you can imagine, this BG has a hell of layers. This particular scene was create in AfterFX (and other softwares of hell) by ... Jhonny Still"

You can watch the original trailer after the break. Make sure to check out Mielgo's blog for a lot more fantastic non-Beatles art!

Osmos Releasing For iPad, iPhone

June 29, 2010 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Hemisphere Games's ambient, even calming PC title Osmos, which took home the 2009 Independent Game Festival's Vision Award, will soon see a release on iOS devices, first on the iPad on July 8th, then on iPhone/iPod Touch around a month later.

In Osmos, players guide a single-celled organism (Mote) as it propels itself around to absorb smaller motes, while avoiding bigger organisms and using the gravitational pull/push of Repulsors/Atractors to their advantage. It's like a mix of ThatGameCompany's fl0w, Nintendo's Orbital/Orbient, and Spore's cell stage.

Hemisphere says it's worked more than six months to rework the iOS versions from the ground up, adding a new game structure, multitouch controls, more levels, and new menus. The studio says it's also smoothed out the difficulty curve and tweaked everything for the devices' screen sizes and processing power.

[Via Nobuooo]

GDC Online Announces First Sessions, 'Live' Track Specifics

June 29, 2010 10:00 AM | Simon Carless

[While GDC Europe is up first - and look for a super-neat speaker announcement for that on Thursday -- my colleagues at GDC Online, set for Austin this October, are starting to roll out some v.interesting lectures of their own, starting with this.]

Organizers of GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) have announced the first set of lectures for this October's pre-eminent conference related to online games, including a 'Live' track featuring Sony Online, Wizard101 and IMVU speakers.

The Austin, Texas-based GDC Online conference and expo is keenly focused on development of connected games including social network titles, free-to-play web games, kid-friendly online titles, large-scale MMOs, and more, with a leading advisory board guiding the evaluation and choice of lectures.

While there are already over 25 confirmed lectures across the entire event -- created by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, as is this site -- organizers are focusing on the 'Live' track, which discusses the vital topic of successful strategies for online games post-launch.

The rise of swiftly iterated social games and microtransactions have led to a wide array of new techniques and technologies that can help increase fun, profitability and retention, and the 'Live' track will deal with many of these.

Some of the highlights of the GDC Online 'Live' track, as announced thus far, include:

- In 'From Shadowbane to Wizard101: Strategies for Expanding Player Communities and Sustaining Enthusiasm After Launch', J. Todd Coleman & Josef Hall of KingsIsle Entertainment will reference their 10 million registered-user online game and previous experience, identifying "sustaining community that transcend genre and generation, the importance of always having new content in queue, and strategies for communicating milestones and methods for remaining engaged in public conversation."

PS3, Xbox 360 Felt Cases For Gadgets

June 29, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

You might have seen some of RabbitRampage work before, small but adorable felt cases modeled after the original PlayStations or Game Boys, perfect for protecting phones of iPods. The craftster has now ventured into the current generation of home sonsoles with her creations, though, offering felt PS3 slim pouches.

She constructed these 5 1/8" by 3 1/4" cases out of 1mm black felt with a gray felt lining, a velcro closure, and handsewn details (e.g. PS3 logo, power/eject buttons). She also offers a plush controller that you can attach to one of the white straps, sold separately.

And if you're more of a Microsoft fan, RabbitRampage sells a felt case and plush controller for white Xbox 360s, too (photo after the break). Unfortunately, it looks like just sold out of her PS3/Xbox 360 felt cases, but she plans to create more, so keep an eye on her Etsy shop for when those come back in stock.

Freekade's iPad Arcade Mini-Cabinet Plays Mr. Do

June 29, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Continuing our coverage of mods inspired by ThinkGeek's iCade mock-up from last April Fools', here's another prototype of an iPad arcade mini-cabinet, this time from Freekade, a UK outfit that specializes in building small, custom arcade setups.

Like the Japanese cardboard iPad arcade setup we previously featured, Freekade's work somehow sends commands from the joystick and buttons to the tablet through its dock connector -- the firm stresses that this is not simply a VNC-type client.

Unlike that previous prototype, though, this one sits the iPad in portrait mode and plays classic games like Mr. Do, likely made possible through jailbreaking the system. While most iPad owners probably wouldn't consider jailbreaking their system, I'd sure many would still love to see Freekade add custom cabinets like this to its catalog/services.

[Via Engadget]

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Where The Magazines Read You

June 29, 2010 12:00 AM |

['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]

dendy1.jpg   dendy2.jpg

I was lucky enough the other day to come across a scanned collection of Video-Ace Dendy, the first magazine in Russia devoted wholly to video games. "Video-Ace" is the name of the Moscow-based publisher behind the mag, and "Dendy" is the brand name of (at the time) the most popular gray-market NES console in the nation.

The Dendy, a PAL-compatible clone of the Famicom, was released December 1992 across Russia by Steepler, an importing company the sourced the consoles from Chinese manufacturers. The system went on sale for 39,000 rubles (the equivalent of about $94 at the time) and was a very quick success -- by mid-1994 over a million Dendies were in Russian households and Steepler was selling at least 100,000 consoles per month. Part of this was because of Steepler's ad campaign, which included everything from TV ads (featuring the jingle "Dendy, Dendy, we all love Dendy! Dendy: Play it!") to that elephant mascot guy above, designed by animator Ivan Maximov.

This market naturally created a demand for new games and magazines, and Video-Ace Dendy debuted in July 1993 to meet that demand. The first 28-page issue lists a catalog of 59 games available for the Dendy at the time, 15 of which are "X-in-1" cartridges and all the others of similarly not-quite-legal status. Young Russian gamers didn't care, though, and they ate up Video-Ace's mix of strategy, reviews, and game-themed trading cards.

Free Boardgame Adaptation Of Maziacs

June 28, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

With the number of board game adaptations for modern video games increasing recently (e.g. EVE: Conquests and World of Warcraft: The Board Game), it's only right that several classic titles receive their own tabletop editions, such as Maziacs the Boardgame.

Based on Don Priestley's 1983 ZX Spectrum release Maziacs (video after the break), this board game version challenges players to navigate a randomly-generated maze full of dangerous but dumb spider-like monsters -- the Maziacs -- while trying to find gold and an escape route.

Jorge Arroyo, creator of Maziacs the Boardgame, explains how it works:

"The game uses tiles to build a new random maze each play and mechanics to create a unique path towards the treasure. This path is slowly uncovered by the player by asking prisoners that can be found randomly through the maze.

Also, the Maziacs will appear randomly and try to kill the hero, but as long as he has a sword, he'll be safe. There's also a mechanic that will adjust the chance of a new Maziac appearing based on the number of Maziacs already on the board and the distance from the exit.

In the end, it's all about beating the game system, either as a solo or cooperative game, trying to maneuver through the tight corridors fooling Maziacs into dead ends and finding the correct path to the treasure."

You can download everything you'll need to play Maziacs the Boardgame for free at BoardGameGeek.

Manic Miner: The Opera, Now With Video!

June 28, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Longtime readers of the site might recall our spotlight on Manic Miner: The Opera several years ago, an audio sketch hoping to "make classical music appeal to a younger audience" with a fictional opera for Matthew Smith's classic platformer Manic Miner, performed by The Franz Kafka Big Band and aired by BBC Radio Scotland.

Colin Broom -- who composed the three-part opera with librettist Colin Edwards and singer Kenny Reid -- has returned to the five-year-old project with a video for Manic Miner: The Opera's first scene, Central Cavern, using footage from the game's CPC Amstrad version to accompany the song and show "Miner Willy and his journey through the mines".

The video ends at a cliffhanger with Willy encountering a stage full of "Wacky Amoeeeeeeeebatrons" -- hopefully we'll see videos for the rest of the scenes, too! Broom says he'll produce clips for the rest of Manic Miner: The Opera's scenes if he finds time.

Letter From The IGF Chairman: Explaining Our Changes For 2011

June 28, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

focusonthei.jpg[Following the announcement of the 2011 Independent Games Festival competition, IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer goes in-depth on the changes made for this year's Festival, examining the ethos for the competition and the major shifts in policy and rules for this year's 13th annual IGF experience.]

The IGF's mandate has been, since its inception, to provide the best showcase of both the evolution and the revolution the indie development community has continually provided, year after year, since the festival's foundation in 1999. And while -- from my outsider's perspective -- it has succeeded at doing so, part of my own mandate as its new chairman is to help the festival itself undergo that same evolution as it grows in terms of both simply size and in importance to the wider game development community.

Over the past month, I've been in discussions with not only the IGF team itself, but with a wide variety of indie developers, to figure out what we can do to make this year's lucky-13th festival even more successful than it has been in the past. What follows, then, is the three main changes -- minor tweaks and major restructuring -- that hopefully will make the new IGF the most inclusive, responsive and fair festival we've put together yet.

And this first step's a doozy...

Relapse: Civilization Anonymous Returns

June 28, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Any fan of the Civilization series knows how easy it is to get sucked into a campaign and lose hours, if not a full night, to the strategy game. Playing on the addictive nature of the game several years ago, Firaxis and 2K Games created several humorous videos around a fictional group that looks to support Civ junkies struggling with their addiction.

With Civilization V just around the corner now -- you can mark September 21 in your calendar -- the companies have brought back CivAnon, a "12-step support group for the most hardened Civ addicts", updated for modern concerns, like the franchise's broader audience and iPhone editions of the game acting as a gateway drug.

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