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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, 2011

Your Friends Close, A Video Game Dramedy

June 30, 2011 8:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins

Kickstarter as a means to fund game-related film projects is nothing new, but the vast majority thus far have been documentaries (Indie Games: The Movie and Minecraft: The Story of Mojang being just two examples). Though Your Friends Close immediately sets itself from the pack by being a work of fiction.

The movie depicts a going away party for a video game designing husband and wife team. On the eve of their planned trip to France, where they’ll develop some groundbreaking new MMO, it's revealed that one might not be leaving after all. The end result is everyone suddenly going after newfound opportunities. The screenwriter claims the main thrust is "the emotional, psychological heart-strings that are pulled by the people behind the scenes every time we pick up a controller, and what happens when they turn that attention among each other in a real life game with much higher stakes."

For whatever reason, I’m reminded of Chris Hecker's Spy Party. Ultimately, movies about going away shindigs that go awry are a dime a dozen, but when was the last time any involved video games? It would be nice to see Your Friends Close get funding, but with less than a week to go and a little less than halfway to go towards their goal, they could use all the help they can get and as soon as possible.

[UPDATE: It has just been revealed via Destructoid that Yahtzee Croshaw (of Zero Punctuation fame) and Lisa Foiles, (Top 5 with Lisa Foiles, also for The Escapist) have joined the cast. Seems the added dose of star power is working; the amount pledged has seen a significant bump since this report was originally filed hours ago!]

The iPad As A Game Console

June 30, 2011 6:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins

That's the idea behind the iTari. It's also the most basic of video games, powered by the largest assemblage of cobbled together tech one can imagine (as well as costly, since it's all Apple gear).

The iPad is the center of it all, with both players controlling their paddles via iPhones. Though the tablet only displays the score, with the action being outputted to a bigger screen via the Apple TV.

Again, the set-up is not cheap; according to the iTari's creators, everything (including AT&T & Verizon's share) is around $1850. Yikes.

[via Kotaku]

EU Nintendo Update - Kirby's Dream Land, A Fairy Tale And More

June 30, 2011 4:00 PM | Ryan Langley


This week's big game is again, a 3DS Virtual Console title -- Kirby's Dream Land is now available on the 3DS for £3.60 / €4. Also available on both the 3DS and DSi are A Fairy Tale
, a neat puzzler for 200 Points, and Successfully Learning German: Year 3 for 500 Points.

It's a pretty lonely life over on the WiiWare service, with just one new title -- Successfully Learning German: Year 3.

Rage Video Series Holds Up id Software's Legacy, id Tech 5

June 30, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Ahead of launching Rage for PC/PS3/Xbox 360 this October, id Software is releasing a series of behind-the-scenes videos about the first-person shooter/vehicle combat game, starting with this five-minute clip about the company's history and legacy. 

Here, John Carmack, Todd Hollenshead, Kevin Cloud, and other id Software notables talk about the advances to the FPS genre they've contributed over the years through titles like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake.

There's also a look at the the id Tech 5 engine powering Rage, which Carmack boasts is "arguably the best looking game on consoles today" while running at two times the framerate (60fps) most other titles offer. 

New Star Soccer 5 Takes The Pitch August 11

June 30, 2011 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

New Star Soccer 5, which I previously held up as the primary reason to get excited about soccer games again, will release for Windows and Mac on August 11, allowing you to life the life of a young football star, in and off the field.

This indie game doesn't come close to matching the graphics of modern FIFA or Winning Eleven releases, but it's not trying to offer the same experience: here you just control one player instead of an entire team.

With that player, you'll train, level up, gain new skills, do your best on the pitch, pick up sponsors, drink too much before the night of a game (and predictably play terribly the next day), gamble your money away at the casino or horse track, and more.

When New Star Soccer 5 debuts, it will be priced at $20. If you pre-order, though, you can pick it up with a 25 percent discount and also receive access to the beta version. 

Japanese Shmup Magazine Shooting Gameside Returns With New Volume

June 30, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Fans of shoot'em ups and import gaming magazines, the second volume of Shooting Gameside has released! Even if you can't read its Japanese text, the layout and care put into the periodical is worth the high price of admission: $30.90, if you're buying from NCSX.

This issue offers 160 pages, 26 (!) of those devoted to a feature on Gradius. The rest of the mag is full of previews, strategies, interviews (including one with Taito's in-house band Zuntata), and more for games like Crimzon Clover, Eschatos, Trouble Witches, and Hayabusa.

Shmups Forum member Rancor has already received his copy of Shooting Gameside Magazine Vol. 2 and posted photos of the pages covering Cave's Akai Katana and reviewing Kotobukiya's Ikaruga ship model kit, which you can see after the break:

Sweatshop: Tower Defense Meets Designer Clothes Guilt

June 30, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Digital agency Littleloud and Channel 4 are teaming up again (you might remember their previous collaboration The Curfew) for Sweatshop an online strategy game that's sure to make you feel like a jerk, as you play the manager of a sweatshop producing designer clothes for the UK s high-street stores.

Despite its appalling premise, it looks like a lighthearted affair with graphics by the esteemed Gary Lucken (Army of Trolls) and a Tower Defense mechanic that challenges you to balance the demands of your Western clients with the welfare of the children slaving away in your sweatshop.

"Should you hire a fire officer to prevent the risk of workers dying horribly in an industrial blaze or pack them in to get the job done? Should you train workers to make them more efficient and satisfied or fire them when they lose a limb in an industrial accident?

How do you motivate workers: with generous treats and toilet breaks or with an iron fist, long hours and verbal abuse? Maybe you just want to buy a bunch of robots to do the job instead, forcing your human workforce into deeper poverty.

As the player journeys through the game, the story of the characters evolve and the sweatshop grows, moving into ever new larger premises with all the complications of management this entails."

You should be able to play Sweatshop, and learn all about the unsavory truths behind the fast fashion industry and the sweatshop system, at this site soon.

2012 Independent Games Festival Opens Submissions

June 30, 2011 7:18 AM | Simon Carless

Organizers have officially opened submissions for the 2012 Independent Games Festival, being held at the Game Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco next March 5-9.

The Independent Games Festival is the longest-running and highest-profile independent video game festival, summit, and showcase, and is now accepting entries to its 14th annual edition, with deadlines in the Main and Student Showcase categories by October 17 and October 31 respectively, and finalists to be announced in January 2012.

All games selected as finalists will be available in playable form at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor from March 7-9, 2012, and will compete for nearly $60,000 in prizes, a significant increase from last year.

This includes the high-profile $5,000 Nuovo Award, honoring abstract, short-form, and unconventional video game development, and previously won by designers including Jason Rohrer (Between) and Messhof (Nidhogg).

In addition, awards for Excellence in Visual Art, Audio, and Design, Technical Excellence, Best Mobile Game, the Best Student Game, and the Audience Award each now receive a $3,000 prize, and the signature Seumas McNally Grand Prize for the independent game of the year (won by Mojang's Minecraft in 2011) has been increased by 50 percent to a record $30,000.

Winners will be announced on stage at the high-profile Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The Independent Games Festival Awards are held immediately before the wider Game Developers Choice Awards.

Letter From The Chairman: Welcome Back For IGF 2012

June 30, 2011 7:10 AM | Simon Carless

2012chairman.jpg[Following the announcement of the 2012 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 shifts in policy and rules for this year's 14th annual IGF experience.]

Well, we made it unscathed through that lucky-13th, and here we are again, back where we started, with the opening of the 14th year of the Independent Games Festival. Last year's festival was a landmark one on a number of levels.

It was the first that folded the IGF Mobile into the main competition, the first where one of the entrants (and the eventual Grand Prize winner) surprised everyone (the developers included!) by selling several hundred thousand copies of their game before judging had even begun, our first with a new two-tier judge and jury system, and, obviously, my first year as chairman.

I learned a lot about the festival and how it operates and how it could better be improved over the past year. So I'm here now to outline some of the changes we'll be implementing this year, as the IGF, its role in the community, and the community itself grows and evolves. But we'll start with one aspect of the festival that we won't be changing:

The IGF will continue to utilize its two-tier judge and jury system.

2011juries.jpgFrom the conversations I've had over the past several months, nearly everyone involved -- from the judges and jurors themselves to the individual entrants to those of us organizing the festival -- felt like the change to this system was an incredibly important and positive change.

The two-tier system - with our 150-200 judges recommending games in certain categories, and discipline-specific juries of 8-10 subject matter experts assigned to each award, ensured that all games in the festival got an equal chance at making it into the finalist round.

With more eyes than ever on each entry, and each jurist chosen for their specific professional merits for each category (our list of 2011 jurors is available here), experts were able to make a strong case for any game, whether it gathered an initial popular vote or not.

It also meant that our finalist and winner selection was less of a binary process, and more of a conversation about the deeper merits of the games and their place and legacy in the independent game community. Those intimate conversations were a passionate, productive, valuable look at the pulse of professional indie developers, as you can read in our Nuovo jury comments and Main Competition jury statements, and we're looking forward to those conversations again this year.

NA Nintendo Update - Final Fantasy III (SNES), Kirby's Dream Land And More

June 30, 2011 7:00 AM | Ryan Langley


It's all about the Virtual Console this week with some great classics finding their way to the Virtual console.

The Wii's Virtual console has picked up quite a gem -- Final Fantasy III. That being the original US game, more commonly known as Final Fantasy VI nowadays. You can grab it for 800 Points.

The Wii also gained a new WiiWare title -- Big Town Shoot Out, a classic on rails shooter for 500 Points.

On the 3DS Virtual Console we have Kirby's Dream Land for $3.99. This was the very first Kirby game, and actually missed out on a lot of what Kirby's about now -- collecting powers. Still, a nice, cute and easy romp though the Dream Land.

We also have a bunch of new DSiWare releases -- The Lost Town - The Dust for 500 Points, Boardwalk Ball Toss for 200 Points, Hearts Spades Euchre for 200 Points, and lastly Moto eXtreme for 800 Points, which looks like a take on the Trials HD type of motorcycle game.

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