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I recently had the chance to speak with Austin Harper of ScrewAttack Games and Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games. We discussed how some of their projects came to be, what the future holds and more. Please take a read below.

JB: ScrewAttack is best known as a gaming website. What led to you guys deciding to make your own games?

AH: We are all gamers at heart and we’re really passionate about video games; we decided to take that passion for games and apply that to design. I think all of us at some point in time have daydreamed about being able to make a video game. It’s kind of a childhood dream, you know? We were just very fortunate in having a platform and a great community to support us in trying to fulfill that dream.

JB:  ScrewAttack came out with a rather interesting mobile game a few years ago called Texting of the Bread. What was the inspiration behind that?

AH: Haha, it was very much inspired by the Dreamcast game Typing of the Dead. Essentially we were sitting around talking about how cool Typing of the Dead was, and wondering why nothing like that had been done in the mobile market. We really liked the punny name we came up with, so we decided to take the theme and run with it — hence the main character with a cow strapped to her back and the hordes of gingerbread men.

JB:  What lead to the Nerd being a character in the game? Was it a test run to see how he would be in his own game?

AH: Honestly, we were just really happy that we got to make a game, a real game, with our name on it and wanted to share it with our friends.?

JB:  How was the reception to Texting of The Bread? I understand that one mobile version of the game itself was cancelled?.

AH: The reception was actually pretty good, and we wanted to bring the game to Android, but at the time the ShiVa Engine we built the game in just didn’t have Android support. Our developer made a few test builds anyway, all of them had really ridiculous bugs, like not being able to close the application without removing your battery… Long story short, we parted ways with the developers before we ever got the build completed. Though, you may hear something about our mobile titles in the near future.

JB:  Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is probably the most well known of the games ScrewAttack has produced. How did it come about?

AH: We were talking about making a new game, specifically considering the Angry Video Game Nerd franchise, but we didn’t have a developer in mind. Around that time, Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games reached out to us, asking us to do a review of his game, Manos: The Hands of Fate. We really liked the game and got along with Sam pretty well, and he happened to mention he was a big fan of the AVGN series. The rest just kind of clicked.

JB: Sam, how did you come to be the developer that worked on AVGN adventures? Did ScrewAttack reach out to you? What was the experience like to work on an officially licensed game based of a reviewer of crappy games? Was it intimidating?

SB: A few years back I made a similar project “MANOS: The Hands of Fate” – A retro-style adaptation of the infamously bad movie of the same name. It was a pet project which did pretty well. The idea was to adapt the movie in the way movies were adapted to games back in the 80s on the NES, and a lot of my research involved binge-watching AVGN, who I had been a big fan of for quite some time, to try and capture that “LJN” feel. Also being a big fan of ScrewAttack, I approached them to try and get MANOS some coverage, and the retro style impressed them, at which point they allowed me to pitch a collaboration to them – that pitch was AVGN Adventures, a game I’d dreamed of making since before I even started MANOS. They liked the pitch, and my life was changed!

JB:  You brought to AVGN Adventures some elements from your game Manos the Hands of Fate, based off that infamous movie. I’m curious how that game came about, being based on a notorious film from decades ago.

SB: MANOS is an interesting one. I’ve been fond of watching terrible movies with friends for as far back as I can remember, and when I caught Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie on TV I ended up obsessively watching that show on the internet (we didn’t have the show here in England, only the movie, which was essentially just a higher budget episode!), and through MST3K I discovered the film MANOS. Since I’d been making games as a hobby since the late 90s, my “bad movie buddy” Chris and I always joked about making a game of MANOS, how it’d be adapted, how it’d play. We joked around with the idea of a point and click adventure, for example. Whilst reading about the history of that film one day I found out that the film and everything in it was in the public domain due to the director’s failure to take all the necessary steps to copyright a work back in the time it came out (similar to what happened with George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, thus giving birth to the entire zombie genre), and I was amused to think that I actually COULD make MANOS due to this! I believe I was thinking about AVGN when I realized how much fun it’d be to adapt MANOS the way game developers adapted movies on the NES in the 80s, and so I went for it – The main idea would be to “celebrate badness with something good”; to include all of the tropes of bad game adaptations and bad movies alike, but without making the game itself bad! Not long after the release of the game, I was befriended by most of the remaining cast of the original film, so I suppose you could even say it’s the “official” video game adaptation at this point.

JB:  What is your philosophy to game design and what are some of your biggest influences and inspirations in gaming? I’m talking about both games and game developers.

 SB: I like to keep things simple, challenging, fun and exciting! My greatest influences on my platformers are Yoshi’s Island, Mega Man X and the original Sonic games, but I also find myself inspired by some modern indie developers like Edmund McMillan and the guys at WayForward. Of course not forgetting the masters themselves, Miyamoto, Inafune, Igarashi. There’s so much more, though. Games have been an enormous part of my life and they’ve never not been inspiring me, so it’s a tough question to ask!

JB:  What do you personally hope to Accomplish with AVGN adventures II? Will it come to consoles like the first game did?

SB: Regarding Consoles, that’s up to ScrewAttack to talk about, but obviously that’s something I really hope to see happen. As for the game itself, we’ve learned a lot since the first, so I hope not just to make fans of the original happy, but perhaps win over some people who weren’t too smitten with the first game as well!

JB: Austin, Disorder is an interesting game. How did that one come about and how has the reception been?

AH: Chad and Craig were walking the floor and checking out indie games down at SXSW Gaming when they came across Disorder. Both of the guys thought it was a really awesome game and spent the weekend hanging out with the Swagabyte Games team. After a night of playing games together and drinking, we decided to take on the project as the publisher. Disorder is a different tone than our other titles, it’s bit more serious in subject matter, but most everyone who has played it has responded pretty positively.

JB:  Jump ‘N’ Shoot is an awesome throwback to classic games but I have to ask, why is it on mobile devices only?

AH: Jump’N’Shoot Attack is kind of Sam’s passion project to try and bring a real platforming game experience to the mobile phone that gamers will enjoy.

JB:  Is there any chance there may one day be a Death Battle game? I understand it would be a licensing nightmare but you could use stand ins/obvious parodies for the real characters and even include Wiz and Boomstick (and Jocelyn).

AH: It has definitely been talked about, but at this point I can’t really say much either way.

JB:  Do you see ScrewAttack continuing to pursue video game production? If so, what are some genres that you would like to see tackled?

AH: I think, like with most things, we’ll continue doing it as long as it makes sense and people enjoy it. Being a super small publishing team, we try to focus on a limited number of projects so we can give proper attention to them all. I can say that I’m busy for the foreseeable future. I think one of the hardest genres to do well is horror.

JB:  Do you have any regrets about how things were done in any of the games ScrewAttack produced?

AH: Looking back, if we could do it over again we would have launched Texting of the Bread with a Free to play model.

JB: Have there been any games that ScrewAttack was producing that have ended up being cancelled along the way that people are not aware of?

AH: There have been a few publishing opportunities that didn’t pan out. One example was a small development team that disbanded before the contract was finalized. It’s a bummer, because it was an awesome game that will never see the light of day. I hope one day they reconnect and continue work on the game.

JB:  Do you have anything that you would like to say to the audience of Teal Otaku Gamer?

AH: Thanks so much for reading the interview! If you’re a fan of retro inspired games, we hope you’ll check out our stuff!

Thank you again for doing this.

 

You can follow ScrewAttack on Twitter at @ScrewAttack, Austin can be followed at @PotatoHound and Sam at @FreakZoneGames

 

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Indie games on the Wii U come in a large variety of genres and the puzzle platformers are among the best. The Beggar’s Ride is a puzzle platformer that does the genre right and tries its best to bring in new ideas.

The Beggar’s Ride makes use of both in game powerups as well as the Wii U gamepad for puzzle solving and progression. The gamepad is used for both touchscreen interactivity and motion controls, the likes of which have only been seen in a few games on the system. But is it fun? I would say so, and it is most certainly one of the most inviting games on the system. The kind that tries all it can to bring you in and keep playing. I liked what I played of it but I will admit that it is not for everyone. The aforementioned puzzle elements involving the gamepad will no doubt alienate many as it requires a significantly higher amount of paying attention than most puzzle games. However if you can get past the controls, then fun will be had.

The Beggar’s Ride is one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen on Wii U, with an art style that helps its gameplay seem more involving than most others. It really has to be seen in motion to be understood. Combined with its control scheme, The Beggar’s Ride is a game that presents itself as more than just another game. The music in the game is great and really helps you get into the experience as well. It is the kind of music that makes you feel like you are becoming part of something.

Bottom line, if you want a puzzle platformer that offers a new experience, then I suggest trying this out. If you are turned off by new control schemes, then look elsewhere.

 

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No GravatarSometimes there are very special games that will forever hold a place in the heart of gamers. Chrono Trigger is one of those games. It is a game that is often hailed as being one of the best RPGs of all time and, in many cases, can be considered on of the greatest games of all time, period. Here are the reasons why:

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Chrono Trigger is a role-playing game developed by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game was created by a team of extremely talented individuals, including Final Fantasy’s creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. It was published in 1995 with critical success and was the third best-selling game of that year. Chrono Trigger was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999 and then repackaged in 2001 with Final Fantasy IV as “Final Fantasy Chronicles.” With such critical and commercial success, it has been later ported to the mobile platforms of the Nintendo DS, iOS, and Android. It is a revolutionary game that spawned the sequel Chrono Cross and gave a lot of fans some very happy memories.

The game follows Crono, a main character who never speaks during the game, Marle, a princess, and Lucca, Crono’s super-smart friend. During a Millennial Fair for the time period of AD 1000 in their world, Lucca and her father demonstrate a new teleporter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite like it was supposed to and teleports Crono, Marle, and Lucca in time. They bounce around both forward and backward in time, learning about a creature named Lavos that wipes out civilization. The party is then determined to do what they can to save the world through time travel.

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It is a fantastic story, filled with twists and turns. Players end up traveling between seven different eras with their distinct characters, setting, and feel. Along the way, you meet the wonderful characters of Robo, Ayla, Magus, and the best and coolest video game character of all time, Frog. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. Trust me, though. Frog is freaking amazing.

One of the many revolutionary aspects of Chrono Trigger was the possibility of multiple endings. However, there were other advancements including plot-related, character-driven sidequests. These may not seem like a big deal today, but in 1995, that was unheard of.

Though the game play is a fairly standard RPG, there were several new ideas to come forth as well. Done with beautiful two-dimensional graphics (that still look good, by the way), the player can roam around in an overworld typical of RPGs of the time and visit different areas. Each area has things to interact with, whether it be people to talk to, puzzles to solve, or enemies to defeat. One change to the traditional RPG is that Chrono Trigger has random encounters for enemies, some which may be visible and some that will ambush you. Unlike other RPGs at the time as well, the game’s battles take place in the same map area instead of being whisked off to a different screen.

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During fights with enemies, Chrono Trigger uses an active battle approach. Each character can do an action based off of a personal timer that is affected by that character’s stats. Characters can either do a straight attack or use their Techs, which use their magic points. One unique feature for the time was the ability to do combined attacks with characters using the Techs. The characters can double or triple their Tech use to create an even greater effect.

The game play is a lot of fun and allows a player to use many tactics to defeat enemies. Another really cool element that Chrono Trigger officially introduced was the New Game+ feature that allowed players to keep their characters’ stats, techniques, and inventory when playing a new game. This helped players go through the multiple endings easier. Though this idea may have been used in earlier games, from my research, it does look like Chrono Trigger was the first to actually use the term “New Game+.” Pretty awesome, right?

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One of my favorite game elements of Chrono Trigger is actually the soundtrack. It was primarily done by Yasunori Mitsuda, who had some help with the legendary Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu. The shear amount of tracks for the game was an amazing feat for the time frame. The music is otherworldly and consists of some amazing songs, one of which is my all-time favorite: Frog’s Theme. Seriously, whenever I do something cool, I start humming it. Yes, the song is THAT epic.

Chrono Trigger took some giant leaps forward for gaming. It helped push some of the gaming elements that we all love so much in modern RPGs, especially Western RPGs. The game will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am planning on making it the first game that my daughter and I play together. It is just THAT amazing.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 May, 2016 At 05:05 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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Sci Fi games that involve obstacle jumping and dodging with ships are a strange breed. Some can be good and some….not so much. Sadly, this game falls more into the latter category.  What do I mean by this? Well let’s go into detail.

SpaceRoads pretty much involves guiding a spaceship to jump over obstacles and reach a goal. Not too much involved and what is involved is not a good product. The controls are completely broken and veer from too stiff to too sensitive to the touch.  Given that this involves a lot of jumping and dodging, this can easily lead to much frustration. The awkward controls repeatedly got in the way and after numerous instances of this, my frustration reached an all time high.

Another point against this game is the music. It is a repeating loop that immediately gets on your nerves and makes you want to pull a Mick Foley and get your ear ripped off ( Much Love Mick, I’ve always been a big fan). The music is bad enough, but being on a repeated loop just drives you that insane. Its bad in small doses but as its presented? Horrible.

The visuals in the game are not bad, but are not anything to write home about. They are decent to average graphics. In fact they may be the only thing decent about this game. If I seem harsh, that is because this game was just that unpleasant to play. I don’t want to discourage the developer, Wurd Industries, as I think they do have potential to be great developers. They should take this opportunity to learn from this experience and do better next time.  I would love to see what they can do with some more experience and learning.

Overall, I would suggest passing on this game.

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I first heard of this game when a friend showed me the kickstarter for this and tried his best to sell me on it, but I was not convinced. The game seemed a little strange, and I was not sure what to make of it. When I received a chance to review the game ( Thank you Mobot), I decided to do so in order to see what the game really had to offer.

The Deer God is one of those games that is very slow to start but does pick up when you finally get going. The game has a lot to offer but the issue is that the way it is presented is a little awkward. The game’s pacing shifts from slow to fast and the back to slow. Its not a major deal breaker but is something that can distract you.

The game is gorgeous with amazing pixel art that is top of the line. The game’s visuals are a true standout especially when compared to other Pixel Art games, but it makes me wish the soundtrack was also as good. It is not that the soundtrack is bad per se, but rather that it just doesn’t feel right with the game for whatever reason. Something about it, just doesn’t sit right at all.

The gameplay itself of The Deer God is interesting. There is a story to follow, you interact with others and gain new abilities and it feels okay, but the uneven pacing can throw things off. The controls are not a problem, in fact the game controls just fine. The game is certainly not bad, just mis-paced.  I did enjoy myself at several times, as I explored the game. The day and night cycle the game has is particularly impressive in how it is utilized. I just wish the game was paced better as it could have been even better. Its worth checking out, just be warned about the unevenness of the game.

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 6 May, 2016 At 08:02 PM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarMobot Studios sent out the following Pres Release

 

Demongeon is a punishing platformer that will push your skills to the max. You play as a demon that has been summoned and captured by an evil alchemist. To avoid being tortured and used, you must escape his trap filled dungeon. Demogeon uniquely combines the challenge of level-based platforming into one large adventure style level with just enough hints of metroidvania gameplay to keep you wanting more! For the hardcore gamer, there is unlcokable speedrun and survival modes. In survival mode you get one life to see how far you can make it! TY

 

You can see the trailer below

 

 

The game looks very interesting and exciting to play. Hopefully we will have a review when this game comes out because it looks great. Even if Nintendo might be winding down Wii U development, it is great to see indie developers keeping the system going.

 

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M2, The developers of Sega 3D Classic have stated that they would like to port Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast games to modern systems.

 

Okunari says that Sega is open to helping other companies who’ve had successful releases on Sega’s classic consoles to do 3D remakes of their games.

“During the Wii Virtual Console days, we worked with other developers and were able to port games that were on Megadrive and other Sega systems,” says Okunari. “Those were all made on our side. However, negotiations with some publishers, like Capcom and Bandai-Namco, didn’t go through. We did consider negotiating again when the 3DS came along, but business-wise, nothing really came together.

For many fans, the true holy grail of reissues would be if M2 moved on from their ports of Sega’s Model 2 arcade system boards to Model 3. Okunari says that there’s a reason that hasn’t happened yet.

“This has more to do with how the teams are divided amongst Sega as a company,” he notes. “Up until now, M2 has been focused on 8-bit and 16-bit ports, whereas Dreamcast and Saturn titles were done by staff that were assigned to those games from teams like AM2 or Sega of China. The idea behind that was to make these porting lines run as efficiently as possible, with the teams learning the know-how behind specific systems.”

“At the time, if M2 had researched porting Model 2 or 3 on their own and come to Sega for that, we’d have told them we already had teams assigned to it, or the market isn’t right at the time. That said, that sort of corporate direction has ended recently, and M2’s is the only port line that really exists anymore. There’s a possibility that ports for Model 3 could continue on their side.”

“Model 3 might actually be easier than Model 2,” says Horii. “We’re obviously interested, but Sega would have to make the business call there. We’ve mostly been focusing on getting Game Gear and 3D Classics working, so there hasn’t really been any time to research much outside of that. If the opportunity presented itself, I’d certainly consider it.”

“Over the past 11 years of the Sega Archive Project, M2 has slowly crept its way through SEGA hardware history, learning each system one by one,” says Okunari. “As the hardware evolves, external chips get brought in, and the boards themselves get powered up – but a lot of the core programming is the same. Their studies are evolving along with the hardware itself. They’ve entered the 1990s, so perhaps we’ll continue along that route.”

Sega Saturn Games are notoriously hard to emulate, both for design reasons and lack of source code. If anyone could replicate them however, it is M2. Hopefully Sega gives them the go ahead/

 

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 Apr, 2016 At 11:14 PM | Categorized As News, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarKoei Tecmo has announced at an investors’ briefing that they are developing games for the NX. No further details are out so far but its good to know of at least 1 3rd party developer officially confirmed to be working on the system. (Square Enix does not count as there has not been official confirmation)

See the below slide from their presentation for the confirmation.

Hopefully their games will do well on the new system.

 

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No GravatarJoy Mech Fight, a Japan only Famicom game, was another early attempt at a fighting game from Nintendo. The game took a lot of influence from other fighting game but also Capcom’s Mega Man series. It had 2 scientists who made robots, one scientist went evil and reprogramed the robots except one. The difference in JMF was that after defeating the other robots, they became playable characters, much like story mode unlocks in modern fighting games. The graphics and music were impressive for the time, even as they fought hard against the limitations of the Famicom system ( This was during the transition phase between the 8 bit and 16 bit generations), and while they are not impressive by today’s standards, they were still a technical marvel. The game actually had the largest roster for a fighting game, with 36 characters, until the King of Fighters 98 came out and had 38.

Now there is the question of how to revive it, and to that I say that this is a chance to kill two birds with one stone. There is another game Nintendo was working on for Wii U that seems to have stalled, with no further direction. I refer of course to Project Giant Robot

That game would be perfect to repurpose as a reboot of Joy Mech Fight. It could be the game finally done right, with unique characters that feel like their own character, with the full character shown and not the way they were in the Famicom version with the disembodied limbs. In HD with 3D graphics, this would be an amazing game and if treated right, could be a unique fighting game for Nintendo to have on the NX. The two game concepts seem perfect for each other and would blend well.

Custom characters could be done fantastically in this and the opportunity is there for a variety of modes, such as story ( like in the original), Arcade, Local Multiplayer, Online Multiplayer and Custom Local and Online Multiplayer among others. Nintendo has stated recently that they are unsure of what to do with Project Giant Robot, and retooling it into a reboot of Joy Mech Fight just seems like a perfect way to make this into gold. As for who can make it, perhaps Platinum Games, with their track record of action games and robots in their games. Or maybe Next Level Games, with their unique offbeat games. In the end, whomever makes this, this is too good an opportunity to pass up.

 

 

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No GravatarSNK Playmore has reverted there name to SNK. This is a good thing in my opinion as SNK has been trying to recapture that same awesomeness they had in the 90’s and have been doing a good job so far.

 

See the announcement below.

 

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