News: Telenet Japan closes

telenet.jpgTokei News reports that Telenet Japan, once famous for games such as Valis and Arcus has closed down after 24 years in the business. Apparently selling their game properties to eroge makers wasn’t enough to keep the company going.

They had been focusing on the pachinko business recently and recorded
452 million yen in sales last year in March but their profits were bad
and they continued to be in constant debt. Strategies such as selling
their gaming properties and selling their stock holdings in order to
rebuild the company’s financial ability reached a limit and they could
no longer keep the company going.

<Brandon’s note:> As of the closing date, only 18 people were still working for Telnet, which is pretty sad, considering its heyday. There’s some vague stuff in here too, like talk of a failed U.S. subsidiary game center, which I can’t even imagine anyone thinking was a good idea. I wonder who, if anyone, will buy the rights to their legacy titles? They had lots of good games in the 80s and 90s…I guess 3D killed them. That and Wolf Team going away, and their SFC RPGs not really taking off. They mention that they worked on a lot of the Tales games in their company profile. Unfortunately their history is updated only to 2001, but they did make Angel Golf and some idol mahjong games after that. Even more curious, they don’t list Valis or Arcus as franchises they own – did they sell the rights completely? That would be quite distressing. The last game in the old style I’ve seen evidence of from them is Valis for mobile remake, but that may have been developed by Bandai. Must’ve been a depressing last few days around the offices, with all your licenses gone, and mountains of debt.

<Recap’s note:> Telenet indeed ‘worked’ on many ‘Tales of’ games, since they co-owned Tales Team along with Namco till not too long ago. Let’s not forget that Tales Team was formed up from some ex Wolf Team staff. And being honest, Telenet never released a truly remarkable quality title which wasn’t signed by Wolf Team. It was the dissolution of this developer what actually put an end to Telenet’s relevance as a video-game company.

News: Creanimax 2007 Game Development Contest winners

momo.jpgCreanimax (animation and videogame festival in Mexico) took place earlier this month. Although it’s just the second time it was held, it’s definitively an event to keep an eye on. The conferences and workshops were top notch with international exhibitors like Lionhead Studios, Wanako Games, Eidos and Epic Games, among others. The expo show floor is still lacking: entries for the International Videogame Contest weren’t playable (or even showcased) and stands were few and not that interesting. I hope they work hard on improving these aspects of the festival for the next year’s edition.

Anyways, the International Videogame Contest winners are:

1.- Tempo (Cristian Pastor, Spain)

2.- Momo Adventures (Dreamchaser Interactive, Mexico)

3.- Lost Word Temple (Isaac Barbosa/H

News: Virtual On OMG!

zgradt_omg.jpgI’ve held back on this until the deluge of stuff had subsided. For those that haven’t been aware, the recent SEGA AGES release (Vol. 31 to be precise) is a pristine port of the 1995 arcade original Dennou Senki Virtual On. It was released yesterday but the build up to the release produced some cool stuff. The first being at Game Watch, where they posted a step by step guide to getting the PlayStation 2 port working online via Xlink Kai (which bodes well for the quality of the opposition we’ll meet online). The second big “drop” came from SEGA themselves, who updated the port’s site with a slew of interviews, breakdown on all the new secrets and lots of shiny wallpapers. The secrets in the game are of special note due to their unhinged genius. To kick off, you can play as the final boss Z-Gradt, which is just crazy enough as it is, then they followed that up by introducing a slew of special moves to the virtuaroids that originally lacked them but, at the same time, making sure that the new specials were in-line with their progeny in Virtual On Oratorio Tangram. To finish off, I think its worth clarifying that this is an arcade perfect port. It’s not even vaguely based on the Sega Saturn version, as many had originally feared, and they’ve even used all the original art assets. If people are curious on the reasons behind this, SEGA went and hired almost the entire team that made the original and the results really do speak for themselves. Considering the budget pricing it’s a wonderful bargain but unfortunately there isn’t any support for the Saturn TwinSticks (though the USB Saturn pad released recently is supported). You can get it here if you need to.

Update: Game Watch had another update about the game’s secrets but what makes it noteworthy is a very short movie they included with the update. It shows Temjin executing a “big four”. This is produced by doing a single frame cancel in close combat range and then firing off your right weapon. Normally you only get two large shots for a forward dash, this produces four regardless of the direction. Pretty cool that it’s in this version.

News: Last Hope for NGCD

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Last Hope, already released on Dreamcast and Neo Geo home cart, is finally getting released on Neo Geo CD. It comes with a superplay DVD, and will cost 50 euros. They decided to make sure it was Japan region…I have very little idea why that would make sense, considering the NGCD is basically region-free, but there it is. The game is going to be released in November, so start saving your pennies if this sort of thing floats your boat!

News: More Frog Feast

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Oldergames has announced (just a bit ago) preorders opening for Frog Feast, Charles Doty’s rather simple game, on the Dreamcast, CD32, and FM Towns Marty. The game itself isn’t amazing, but the fact that Doty can port it to every console under the sun is. That’s seven versions for out of print hardware, and counting. You can check out videos of the NGCD, CD-i, and Jaguar cart
(unreleased) versions on youtube. Gripping emotional drama! Incidentally, I love that Oldergames is still part of a webring. Talk about classic!

News: Ookibloks

ookibloks.jpgOokibloks is a game that’s currently submitted to the IGF, done by Studio Work 3 and the awesome Hermitgames. Work 3 is doing the art, music, design, and that sort of thing, and Hermitgames is doing all the serious programming stuff. Work 3, I was pleased to learn, is basically Brian Flanagan, who made an Ikaruga t-shirt a while back (2004 – wow) which I still wear to this day. The first link has a trailer for the game, which has a nice 2D style with faux 2D graphics, a fake Japanese aesthetic, and very nice music, which you can play a melody on top of with your combos…however they may work. The faux-Japanese stuff usually rubs me the wrong way but is quite charming here – the in-game stuff I mean. Not totally sold on the intro, stylish though it may be. In conclusion: very much looking forward to it, not that I understand in any way how it plays.

News: Get better at Street Fighter III

sfiiitutorial.jpgA fellow named Jonathan Berlinghoff (AKA Catalyst) mailed me about his guide to improving one’s skills at Street Fighter III, which is arguably the most technical game in Capcom’s 2D fighting lineup. The guide describes terms and techniques, and also has some tutorial videos to go along with it. I have to admit that this game is the SF in which I am absolutely the weakest, and response to the article has been good from what I’ve seen. It’s not for absolute newbies, as you do have to understand basic terminology like QCF (quarter circle forward) and the like, or abbreviations of super moves, like that SRK=shoryuken. Luckily he’s also got a nice lexicon of terms. Handy! But all in all, it seems pretty useful, with joystick representations of the moves and everything. Huzzah!