Stagecraft: Velvet Sundown

In the file of ‘completely new idea based on very old ideas’, we find Stagecraft: Velvet Sundown. The concept behind this game is that a small group of players get together and play through a pre-scripted story, but because of the uniqueness of each person in the game, it turns out a new experience each time the player goes through it. Not sure what I’m saying yet? Take a look at this from the website - it explains the concept better than I ever could:

Velvet Sundown is a story for 6 to 12 players. The events take place on a luxury super yacht cruising in the Caribbean. You act a character tied to the story through quirks, ambitions and secrets. You find yourself in an environment filled with colorful drinks and tanned people, surrounded by glimmer of gold and flashes of diamonds. As you might expect from such crowd of rich and beautiful, matters might be entirely different behind the practiced smiles and small talk.

Step aboard, get to know the other passengers and work your way into the jungle of ambitions, suspicion and hidden agendas to figure out what really is going on aboard the yacht!

We’re incredibly intrigued. It reminds us of the old Dungeon Master, the person who creates a scenario for his friends, then has them play through it, all the while he’s controlling every element - but he can’t predict what his friends will do, so they impact what is going to happen as much as he does. The game is due out this Summer. You can find more information on the official Stagecraft website. We’ll be checking it out as soon as they let us.

‘Odama’ Is Available Now

REDMOND, Wash., April 10, 2006 — Nintendo’s Odama is the finest microphone-controlled Japanese feudal warrior pinball game you’ll ever play. [Unlike all of the feudal warrior pinball games without a mic.] The one-of-a-kind game, which launches today exclusively for Nintendo GameCube, represents just one more way that Nintendo is pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a video game.

“With all these different genres, Odama delivers a unique and compelling game-play experience,” said Perrin Kaplan, Nintendo of America’s vice president of marketing & corporate affairs. “Without playing it, it’s not the easiest concept to grasp, but once you play, it’s tremendously fun and easy to get into.” [Not unlike a comfy pair of tennis shoes or a warm bubble bath … Wait, what were we talking about?]

Odama lets users command an army of soldiers who are subject to the sometimes devastating power of the Odama, a massive pinball controlled by giant flippers. The Odama rolls over enemy troops and eliminates obstacles, though it also can crush a player’s own soldiers if not aimed properly. [FYI, this part rocks. The little soldier guys scream when the ball rolls over them. They’re all like “It … hurts … the horror!”]

Players can issue a variety of commands to soldiers on the battlefield simply by speaking into the included Nintendo GameCube Microphone. For instance, saying “press forward!” will cause your soldiers on the screen to make an aggressive push into enemy territory, while saying “rally!” will send a team of soldiers to gather in a certain location. The longer players play, the more voice commands they learn. [Now if only it had commands for “bring me a pizza” and “do my laundry.”]

Odama appeals to a wide variety of gaming fans, from pinball enthusiasts to military gamers and strategy fans. [Not to mention cubicle dwellers who dream of one day mastering the ancient, sacred art of multitasking.] Odama, available now, is Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older.