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Archive for the ‘Newtonica’ Category

Newtonica set free
In honour of Kenji Eno’s life, his good friend and collaborator Kenichi Nishi has made all of the Newtonica games on iPhone free to purchase.

On his blog Nishi writes that Eno’s passing has encouraged a lot of people to play his games, and so he has made them free in order to make them more accessible. “With every game I think of him”, he says. “Please come play with us”.

You can find all of the Newtonica apps on the iTunes store, and I recommend that you play them all. Newtonica and its sequel are actually very different games – one an endless game of collection and avoidance using a touch-spun globe, the other a puzzler starring a rubber duck that kind of plays like pool in space. They’re both great games and well worth a go.

I didn’t realise until today either that there’s a short Newtonica soundtrack available on iTunes. Each of the two tracks was scored by Kenji Eno, so have a listen to those if you can.

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Rest In Peace Kenji Eno

800px-KenjiEnoJI2

It takes a lot to motivate me to update this blog these days and it makes me especially sad that it takes something like a death to spur me into action. Tonight, I learned that Kenji Eno – best known as the designer of horror games D, D2 and Enemy Zero – died yesterday at the age of just 42. The news has been widely reported across the internet and is confirmed on the homepage of Eno’s development studio From Yellow To Orange.

Eno is only tangentially related to the Lovedelic school, having co-developed Newtonica with Kenichi Nishi, primarily creating the iPhone game’s soundtrack. He also went on to co-write a blog with Nishi over at one42.tumblr.com. But he’s a designer that fits right in with the likes of Skip, Vanpool et al. Existing on the fringes of the games industry, he always maintained an independent spirit that saw him move from esoteric horror games to quirky puzzlers like the recent WiiWare title You, Me And The Cubes.

I always felt as though Eno was a designer that defied expectation. You never knew what kind of game he would make next or if he would even return to game development at all – having left it a few times to pursue other art forms and disciplines. We have a definite answer, rather sadly.

Though Kenji Eno is perhaps best remembered for his brash and outspoken demeanor during the Sega Saturn era, I prefer to remember him as he was in recent years; a quietly creative designer who clearly had so much more to contribute to the medium. I honestly believe that You, Me And The Cubes was Eno’s best game yet and I was so looking forward to seeing what his unusual mind would think up next…

If you have the time, why not honour Eno’s life by playing one of his games?

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As usual, I ‘ve been far too busy to do lots of little posts this month so here’s a nice big one full of all the latest happenings.

Little King’s Story

gamesTM has got another Lovedelic related feature and this time it’s an extended look at Little King’s Story and an interview with its development team. Many of these fine people have worked on other Lovedelic legacy projects like Moon, Chulip and Tingle RPG so I highly recommend that you read the feature. You’ll find it in Issue 80, which is on sale now.

And on the subject of LKS, I’m currently playing through the review version and can tell you that it is shaping up to be one of the Wii highlights of the year. I say this not just as a Lovedelic fan but also as a gamer in general. It really is something special and I’ll have to get around to covering it in more detail some time soon.

Art Style

art-styleYet more Art Style games have been announced for DSi in Japan. The first is Nalaku, which looks a little like Sony’s Echochrome, crossed with a 3D version of Game Boy’s Tetris Plus. And the second is Hacolife, which seems to be one of those games where you must colour in the squares without backtracking… Though I can’t really be sure at this point.

That’s six Art Style games that are already available on DSi, and none of them are bit Generations remakes! Hopefully, they will all make it to the European DSiWare service when the handheld launches here in April.

Route24

Two bits of Route24 news for you this month. First, Newtonica Player – the free music making software, built around the Newtonica engine – has been updated to version 2 and is much more capable as the video below should prove. Secondly, Kenichi Nishi has started recording his own podcasts on a very frequent basis. Unfortunately for me, they are all in Japanese but if you are lucky enough to understand the language then be sure to give them a listen and report back here if the great man reveals any juicy info.

Now here’s that Newtonica video. See you next time. Ash.

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Lots of little tidbits for you today.

SKIP

picopictTwo bits of skip news. First, they’ve announced the release of two new DSi Art Style games. One called PiCOPiCT and another called Somnium. You’ll find a great little review of the former here.

Also: It looks as though Division24 (Giftpia, Chibi-Robo, Captain Rainbow) is hiring, so perhaps we can expect another big console adventure in 2010. Or perhaps they need extra staff to work on the Wii port of Chibi-Robo.

ROUTE24

Those of you who read the comments to my previous post will see that Kenichi Nishi has directly responded to my criticism of him making too many Newtonica games. In his response he says, “OK, I know your opinion. Just moment please.” Which may suggest that something new is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to seeing what it is.

AUDIO

contact2_titleFinally, Akira Ueda of Audio Inc has posted a lenghty blog entry on his website about his desire to make Contact 2. Using the wholly inadequate Babelfish I can’t really make out the details but he seems to be saying that he has lots of ideas for a sequel that may never happen. Here’s hoping he gets the chance to do it one day. Contact wasn’t the best RPG ever made but it had some fun ideas that could really be built upon.

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There haven’t been many post here lately due to my hectically busy life. Sorry about that… Here’s all the stuff that I didn’t report when I should have done.

Chibi-Robo! is being re-released on Wii with slightly new controls and a 16:9 widescreen display.

Three more bit Generations games are coming to WiiWare under the Art Style label.

The latest gamesTM has an interview with Kenichi Nishi about newtonica.

Oh and it looks like newtonica 2.0 is in the works. Not sure if it’ll be a free update or a full sequel though.

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A new game called Art Style: Orbient was released on the USA WiiWare service yesterday to little fanfare. I almost overlooked it myself actually until I read the very familiar description and realised that it is actually a big screen remake of skip’s GBA game bit Generations: Orbital.

It seems that Nintendo has finally decided to make the bit Generations series of lo-fi, high-gameplay titles available to people outside of Japan and has even taken the trouble to redo all of the graphics and sounds. I guess this is why skip was advertising for new staff to work on a similar project a while ago. It’s interesting that Nintendo would change the label of the series from ‘bit Generations’ to ‘Art Style’. Perhaps they wanted to distance themselves from the Touch Generations label, or maybe they wanted to create a brand to rival Sony’s very similar PixelJunk label.* Or maybe, just maybe, they’re intending to create more games under the Art Style brand, beyond those already available on GBA.

I downloaded Orbient last night and it really is a very good remake. The new graphics are much more attractive and do a much better job of indicating how the gravitational fields are working. The actual levels seem like they might be different too which is good. Regardless, I thought Orbital was one of the better bit Generations games so I’m chuffed to see it up on WiiWare and would recommend that everyone gives it a go, even if they’ve played the original before.

(more…)

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Even though I knew both of these games were on sale it took the ever-sharp Eegra to actually bring the fact to the front of my increasingly addled mind. Check out their site for a wonderful illustration that celebrates the two games.
Will you be buying either of them? I have a copy of Captain Rainbow winging its way from Play-Asia as we speak and I’m sorely tempted by Newtonica’s £2.99 price tag. Though I’d have to buy an iPod Touch to play it. Thank God it’s pay day tomorrow…

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