mercoledì 27 maggio 2009

Bach from the dead

While in Rome, I made a visit to San Luigi's cathedral [home to some of Caravaggio's greatest works btw]. As soon as I walked through the entrance portal, organ music began to fill the cavernous vaults of that baroque masterpiece, and the first thing that came to mind was wishing I had a whip and a name ending in Belmont.

If you have about $2000 to spare and are really desperate for a reason to replay a favorite castlevania title, go to an old European cathedral and listen to some organ playing, you'll be vehement with vampire vengeance.

Very princely indeed.

Ciao! I just returned from Umbria, Have you ever been to Italy? I just returned from a weekend stay with some friends. I hope you can visit during the day's rolling. Like that's possible.

This is a cool project I saw at the Awesomer, a DIY trackball for playing Katamari Damacy!

Let's Play Katamari! [hopefully you can look past the annoying banter]

It's an attempt at making katamari more complete [I think]. I don't think that the ball is at all neccessary for enjoying katamari, the katamari team did a wonderful job of exploiting the ps2 analog sticks and translating their motion into pure katamari psychadelia. However, it's awesome because I believe katamari harkens back to the days of the arcade [how unfortunately distant those days are], where games were based on a single game mechanic and high scores. The trackball was a common replacement for the joystick in many an 80's game cabinet. The trackball gave gameplay momentum [literally and figuratively] and required a different set of motor skills than the average quarter eater. Missle command, anyone? In the 90's however, all trackball games devolved into golf and bowling, y'know the game that you're dad played while you were playing turtles in time. So in that way, the trackball fits really nicely and, if nothing else, could give you a reason to squeeze more hours out of Katamari.

Tone down the graphics, turn up the style, add a quirky but addicting game mechanic and you'll have what makes katamari so damn fun, and a great way to relax. It's one of the games I show my friends who don't play video games that often, because it embodies the mindless fun that lies at the soul of games. It doesn't feel any need to justify or even attempt to relate to it's audience, and somehow that makes it really accessable. Katamari is self-aware, it knows that it's fun and it's happy when it makes you happy. Much like Jet Set Radio, One of katamari's strengths is it's soundtrack, full of upbeat, bizarre, and original tracks made just for the game [almost all of the songs are about rolling balls.]

there are other recent titles that follow this formula of singular quirky game mechanic and super stylish gameplay, like patapon by rolitoland, loco roco, killer 7, and katamari's successor Noby Noby Boy. This return to the arcade style is nothing new for browserware and other light pc games like world of goo, and many of the games at popcap.

giovedì 21 maggio 2009


So I posted that trailer and jumbled excitement out of child like giddyness, then i realized that no other game site on the internets was posting anything... which got me confused, because this should have hit every major site on the intarwebs with the force of superman drop kicking an atomic bomb. but i think noone picked it up because it originally was shown on an apparently unreputable site, but c'mon, the quality of the trailer is undeniable.

Aright, so i got really excited by the trailer for Trico and didn't take the time to consider that it wasn't real. Now, i know that it's real, as in developed by team ico, my game sense tells me so, but it definitely is not the final rendition of the game, and if the trailer for Nico tells us anything, they can make pretty big changes late into development. but then again, the trailer for Nico demonstrated all of the key gameplay and environment design of the final product, and i'll assume that they learned some kind of directoral lesson from that experience and wouldn't make such a huge change as was neccessary with Nico [as in multiple playable characters, which i assume was going on in the trailer].
That said, in my humble opinion, the trailer for ico is real as the shitbrick you dropped after watching it. If anything, character designs will probably change, the main characters outfit in the Trico trailer was refreshing in its simple design and bold colors, but it seems a bit to simple or unfinished than what i would have thought.

In other news, here's the Trico trailer again in HD. And i'm not sure why i haven't commented on the likeness of the two protagonists to the luck dragon and Atreyu from never ending story yet.

mercoledì 20 maggio 2009

Project Trico

I saw this a few months ago and got way excited, and never dreamed that i would actually see any output of this project so soon.

The reasons for Loving team Ico are many. This is the first video, that i've ever seen, for the newest installment since Shandows of the collossus. I gotta say that Team Ico is on my list of favorite game designers/designers in general, up there with Kojima and Suda 51, who are also considered somewhere in the genre of art games. 'Art games' are not really a genre but the level of beauty and personality in these games usually far exceed the standard.

Both Ico and Shadows featured a young boy as the protagonist, traveling perilous terrain for ambiguous but noble reasons. The thing that they succeeded at the most, for me, is pulling off an amazing amount of charm and sophistication in the design, almost effortlessly, and an amazing level of immersion which comes with the highly contrasting sense of scale; in Ico you were a little boy attempting to escape a gargantuan castle, waving a stick at giant shadow monsters while trying to escort a very frail princess, and in Shadows you played a slightly older boy single handedly felling skyscraper sized demon-beasts, scattered about a lush and diverse landscape [which you navigate on horseback].

I think all fans of the first two games have all been pondering on what they would do next, and I for one am a happy camper. Ico and Shadows both took [most likely] the same world and used it to create very different gameplay mechanics.
The style of Team Ico is reminiscent of cinematic platformers out of this world, Flashback, and Heart of Darkness; with the memorable visual detail and lack of heavily descriptive written narrative, or in game HUDs (which gives alot to the imagination).
Trico seems to combine elements of Ico and shadows, but twists them just so. This is one of the rare cases where a creative interesting game gets sequeled not due to its selling power, They've always been 'cult favorites', but i guess it gets reiterations because of just how good its been at making Sony look good.
Once again, the playable character seems to be a young boy [without horns], and once again seems to travel with a friend who doesn't talk much. The friend this time around is some kind of giant kitten/griffin/possum thing which will easily become one of the most loved characters in cult gaming next to the companion cube. The trailer seems to show the two protagonists escaping some sort of castle/fortress [which seems to be held within a larger city of similar architecture], and for some reason the giant catbird befriends the boy.
This time, it uses Shadows' system of clinging to the fur of a giant except as a mode of transportation. i also think its hilarious that as helpful as having a giant flyying/swimming/running kittenbird could be in terms of getting around a fantasy worldscape, its inclusion in navigating claustrophobic dungeon areas is so laughable that it's genius (in most games, your transportation, horse, chocobo, etc. has to wait outside, these games never even had to justify it, it just wasn't part of the game, it was a standard that they just didn't go indoors/ past loading screens).
I think that human enemies might make an appearance, as in some screens of the trailer show a bunch of arrows sticking out of your kittenhawk's hide. It also seems that feeding your cute monstrosity is somehow linked to the gameplay. Hrmm, and now that I think about it, if there is a baby kitten/bird/thing, maybe there are adult ones, which could be very frightening or unbelievably cool. This game just oozes awesome, and i can't wait for Team Ico's next masterpiece.

[note: trailer was apparently made over a year ago, shown, behind closed doors, at last year's E3 to a very select audience, Imagine what this game must look like now?!]

You are There

This is pretty sweet, pretty sure i have an intellivision in a box in my basement.

martedì 12 maggio 2009

Jet.. Set.. stole my fucking idea...

While this is really damn cool, and i can only hope sega steals it for a wii-sqluisive sequel to two of my favorite games of all time Just for the record, I thought of this first, so fuck you Martin Lihs for being awesome. Check out the about page on the wiispray website for more info. I never considered that the bauhaus school would still be in operation, good stuff.

WiiSpray Teaser from Martin Lihs on Vimeo.

I don't see why the fake aerosol can is necessary, much like the mario-kart driving wheel, i'm sure its just to add to immersion/look cool. The tagging in the video is quite bush league if I say so myself (and I will), some drip effects for pools of digital paint would be awesome as well. I wonder what a talented graffiti artist could complete with this kind of tool. I sort of imagine a basement where someone tests out a giant spray, trying to get it done faster and smoother, then using the same software to place it in a photo of where it would be thrown up, after this danger-room type training, he/she'd venture to their spot and get to work.

I really really want this or I'm gonna resort to some old school vandalism. and while we're on the subject, fuck yo' ipod.

venerdì 8 maggio 2009

Related: Let's Play

An awesome site, where contributors display play-throughs of games. The layout of each is different depending on the author, but its always divided into chapters, and by using screen shots, sometimes video, and transcribing the events of cutscenes, you can experience an entire games events without playing it! (that doesn't sound as enticing as it is.) My only bone to pick is that many submissions use this opportunity to add way too much commentary that i'm sure they think is hilarious, but very often, it isn't.


I suggest the runthrough of Snatcher, its a good ol' kojima joint, and a game that you wouldn't be able to play otherwise. (unless you illegally download the ROM!!!)

domenica 3 maggio 2009

Related to my Interests: Usavich

A series of minute and a half long cartoons featuring two oddly coupled rabbits. A quick wiki search results in a few facts that one could not possibly gather from the show. The rabbit with the red stripes and safety pin through one ear is an ex-mob boss, while the one in the green stripes is a kind heart-ed laborer who was thrown in jail because he missed work due to a hangover, oh and this all takes place in Soviet Russia.

There are 3 seasons, the third one still running on MTV Japan apparently.
i think i included this here because the graphics look suprisingly similar to the in game engine to Radiata Stories.