News: Doujin Excel games

DEX-EV.jpgRecently people got very excited about a feature on Gamasutra about using Microsoft Excel as a 3D engine. But few seem to recall that it’s been used as a game engine for some time already. From the first time someone discovered that there was a playable Microsoft Flight Sim in Excel, the program has been dissected. Witness a post I made back in October 29, 2003. There were some pretty good fan-made Excel games back then. There are even two books on the subject. But fast-forward to now, and see what you get. The fellow who ran the original site (Chikada) is still going at it. His page is difficult to navigate at first, but there is some ridiculously impressive stuff on there. That game to the left, DEX-EV, is running in Excel.

On the site there’s a bar at the top, where there’s an orange rectangle – the tabs there are for genres of games. I’ll link them here: shooting, puzzle, typing, golf and tennis, arcade (lots of puzzle games in there too, like Puyo Puyo 2 for example), block breaking, and finally race/other which also includes fighting games. Worth browsing through these, as they’re all free, and many of them are quite interesting.

News: Love Shane, Hate Shane

loveshanehateshane.jpgA while ago, Christian showed me this blog, about one man’s love/hate relationship with EGM reviewer Shane Bettenhausen. It’s mostly silly. In the author’s own words: “Nobody has caused me to laugh as hard or get as angry as Mr. Shane Bettenhausen. You either love him or hate him. So I’ve decided to track the ups and downs of the Man God’s fandom, giving Shane the props he deserves and the criticism he needs. Wow, this sure sounded a lot less creepy when I was thinking it up.

I say it’s mostly silly, not all silly, because in a way, this is the kind of thing we need. Most reviewers have opinions about things, and people get mad at them for it, and say they should be objective. Well as I’ve said time and time again, they can’t. Ebert isn’t objective, but you know where he stands on things, so you can weigh his opinions against yours. That’s why we need to know the names of reviewers, and what they think though some would disagree. This blog is silly – but the extension of the concept isn’t! Maybe Shane’s not the one to focus attention on, but as long as somebody decent makes it… Note that the man rocking out next to Shane in the pic left is INDEED mutual friend Christian Nutt.

News: Knights in the Nightmare update

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Old news, but I have to report it since it’s Sting. Knights in the Nightmare‘s official site has been updated a couple of times. You can check out the system, world and unit types, and story at this point. Should be coming out on July 17th for a robust 6,090 yen. Check screens and images at Gpara. They’re calling it an “active and tactical” RPG…they seem to think they’re inventing a new genre every time, so we’ll see.

News: Yajoukeiji Toukyou Doujitahatsu Tero Chinatsu

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Browsing around I discovered the Tamsoft-developed DS title Yajoukeiji Toukyou Doujitahatsu Tero Chinatsu, published by Success, which roughly translates to Wild Detective: Tokyo Repeated Simultaneous Terrorism Suppression. Or something like that. If the name weren’t enough, it takes a 70s style approach to the character design, and is an oddly-animated polygonal side-scrolling beat ‘em up. There’s a video on that page I linked, and another one here. If you look here you’ll find the full dedicated site. There are movies in the ‘system’ section there too. There are multiple playable characters, and it seems to have some detective-y bits in it as well, which they’re probably hoping will offset the full-price release (5040 yen). Interesting that Tamsoft is getting back into making full-price products now, with Oneechanbara Vortex and all. It’s supposed to be out May 15th, but Play Asia has it as a July release. The official site has postponed it to “undecided.” Uh-oh!

Off-topic: Persona’s new short

robochi.jpgRegular posting will resume on Wednesday, as internet has been restored! In the meantime, watch our dear friend Persona‘s new short film, Robochi gets flamed. It’s a story about getting flamed on the internet – as a pink robot. Also, it features names of a few ic regulars, and some game sound effects which you might be able to identify. Our very own Vincent Diamante did the music. It’s really quite nice! As his first 3D project, I have to say it’s pretty impressive.

News: Silent Hill Homecoming screens

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Another quick newsbit – there are new Silent Hill Homecoming screens available online, and new Siren screens. I made a post comparing them here. It’s pretty depressing if you’re an SH fan.

Update: Here’s more! Check out an older much nicer looking screen. Also note that the thing everyone wisely assumed was a floor, is water. Thanks NeoGaf. there’s actually a video proving it! I guess this is the new meaning of horror.

Links: Recent interviews

My internet is returning soon, early next week – til then, here are some interesting-ish interviews that have gone up in the interim period. There are kind of a bunch!

Acquire – Interview at GDC. His english was rough, but we talked about what makes a ‘real’ ninja game, and the difficulty of creating voice-activated games like Deka Voice. We also talked about Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaikida, so there’s that! Thanks go out to everyone who cleaned that interview up…

Capcom – Interview with Kraig Kujawa at Capcom about the new 1942 and Commando downloadable titles. They took screenshots of Ikaruga bullet patterns, apparently – not sure they did anything with them though!

MMV – Here‘s one from quite a while back, with a fellow named Yoshiro Kimura, a producer at Marvelous. He was producer on Chulip, and is currently working on the Pikmin-like Ousama Monogatari. Here’s an interesting bit: “But they have their own life, and they might die, actually, during the fight against the monster. So what’s going to happen to the family — the people that are waiting for those NPCs?” Not sure if they’ll really get to work with this, but it’s an intriguing idea.

Capcom – Interview with David Sirlin about the changes in SF II HD. Lots of fun specifics about hitboxes and balancing techniques in here.

Capcom – Christian Svensson talks here about what Capcom is doing in the U.S. with their download initiative. Capcom USA is really becoming a different company from Capcom Japan.

Feelplus – Ray Nakazato, who did that awesome interview a while back, talking about Lost Odyssey, Cavia, AQI, and other stuff…

Then, if you’re still here, two of my Game Developer magazine editorials have been posted on Gamasutra. Here is one about the potential of a one-console future (or one format at least), and here is one asking why good people make bad games. So there you go! Regular insert creditness will resume pretty soon, I promise.

News: Super Robot Wars Z

srwz_event1.jpgFor those that assumed that Alpha 3 was the last of the proper (as in non-OG) Super Robot Wars games of the last generation, then you were a tad foolish. Banpresto have recently announced yet another PlayStation 2 game in the Super Robot Wars series dubbed “Z” (after the DS version’s “W” most probably and indicating that this should be the last game on the system). Despite the debauched launch ceremony (covered on Famitsu here) there’s not much known about the game as yet bar the new and improved roster of anime series that have entered the fold (most of which were already featured in Another Century’s Episode 3). The new series featured are:

Overman King Gainer
The Big O 2nd Season
God Sigma
Aquarion
Eureka Seven
Orguss
Baldios
Gravion
Gravion Zwei

Update: Game Watch has a page up on the event now, with actual in-game screenshots to boot.

Link: Bootfighter Windom XP SP-2

windom_screen1.jpgThis has gone the rounds in a few places recently. Basically, a Japanese chap by the name of Y. Kamada managed to create a clone of the Gundam-themed Capcom arcade games (of which many have received PlayStation 2 ports already and another arcade iteration is around the corner), except the fact that this is entirely free. Bar the obvious fact that the mecha contained within the game are not Gundam mobile suits, despite a few striking similarities, it’s a pretty impressive effort on the part of one individual. In any case, Mirrormoon has created an English installer and hosted a few mirrors of the file accordingly. It’s also got online multiplayer, so go have some fun!

news: print media confirmed dead

welcome to the next levelThe corpse of print media was found on a wooden folding table in the offices of small Japanese corporate office this afternoon.

The body has been identified as the April 2008 issue of Future Publishing’s Official Xbox Magazine, which might have actually been published as early as five weeks ago, according to coroner’s reports.

Detectives identified the murder weapon as an advertisement for Ubisoft’s upcoming surefire smash hit first person shooter Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2. The advertisement is fashioned to be a doppelganger of an Official Xbox Magazine cover, complete with the magazine’s logo in the upper-left-hand corner.

At the top and bottom of the magazine cover, the words “ADVERTISEMENT” are visible in bold, capital-lettered text.

Running along the left edge of the advertisement were “strong perforation marks”, “intended for purchasers of the magazine to remove the double-sided ad in order to see the real cover”, according to coroner’s reports.

The real cover is an image of Bethesda Softworks’ upcoming surefire smash hit role-playing game Fallout 3. oxmrealcovers.JPG

Police investigations have confirmed that Ubisoft’s upcoming surefire smash hit first person shooter Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and Future Publishing’s Official Xbox Magazine have been involved in a relationship for some time, and that relationship had been ongoing even at the time of the murder.

“There’s a two-page spread for Rainbow Six Vegas 2 not even twenty pages into the magazine,” one undercover detective anonymously told insert credit.

“Magazines have been figuratively selling their covers to the highest bidder for years now,” Tim Rogers, expert on videogames and marketing in general as terrorism, told us. “This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a magazine did so literally.”

The back cover of the magazine features an advertisement for another Ubisoft game, Tom Clancy’s FutureWar, not to be released until Fall 2008.

Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Vegas is a game about what would happen if terrorists took over Las Vegas.

Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a game about what would happen if terrorists took over Las Vegas again.

Asked to speculate on the killer’s motive or whereabouts, Rogers cited that the first Rainbow Six Vegas game’s difficulty selection screen allowed players to choose between difficulty levels entitled “normal” and “realistic”.

“This is [Ubisoft's] way of telling people that ‘Reality is not Normal’,” Rogers said.

Print media is survived by literature and the internet.

<Brandon’s note: Tim has been living in Japan for a few years, and thus is perhaps not aware that this has been going on over here for quite a while. I stand by the humor of the rest of this piece.>

[tim's clarification: i had a basic idea that it was going on for a while; just after i "discovered" this "huge scoop" yesterday, i told some chat-friends about it and they shrugged it off, which made me wonder, why the hell didn't anyone tell me about this sooner? it's hilarious! at any rate, this is one of the things that you readers the world over have a right, as americans, to complain about! so get on it!]