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volume 1, issue 38

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

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Penny Arcade at E3: Those wacky Penny Arcade kids do E3!

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Hey Half-Life fans! Looking for some good reads? Check out Valve designer Harry Teasley's guest editorial, our review of Half-Life, or our interview with Marc Laidlaw!

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loonygames goes to E3!
(part one)

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee & The Hand of Odd: All I saw from these two games was their logos and some concept art, and I'm already going to call them the best games of 2001. That's right, 2001. When Munch's Oddysee is completed, it will have been in production for four years. I had the opportunity to sit down with Oddworld Inhabitants' Lorne Lanning (who in addition to being one of the series' designers, is the voice of almost every character in the game) and he explained the concepts behind both of these titles, and needless to say they're revolutionary. Here's the idea behind Munch's Oddysee: it's a fully 3D, interactive world. If you played the prior Oddworld titles, you know their commitment to storytelling, and that will be present in Munch's Oddysee as well. What makes Munch so different from every other 3D game out there, is its emphasis on social interaction instead of puzzles or platform style action. Say you need to get one person to follow you. You walk up to him and ask you to follow, and he says no. But you notice above him a giant billboard that advertises a giant gun, and says "everyone will like you once you get this gun!" So you go around and do what you have to do to get that gun. When you come back and ask this guy to follow you again, he says, "heck yeah!"


Don't get too excited..it's just a logo. But hey...it's a cool one (3 images).

The entire game will have a similar emphasis on social interaction and character development. To quote Lorne, "every character will be a Tomagotchi." You may recall that at one point they were planning on utilizing the Unreal engine for this title. But this was scrapped when they decided on their new target platform: the PlayStation 2. When asked about a PC port, Lorne explained that while they aren't planning one at this point, by the time the game is released, gigahertz PCs will be around, so a port is possible. But again, they aren't planning on it at this time. They've been working on Munch for two years now: the first year was spent figuring out what's wrong with 3D games in general. The second was spent designing every aspect of the game on paper, and the next two will be spent actually constructing it. The GameSpeak system has been given a complete overhaul for Munch as well. Instead of having a set number of commands, there are two commands, complement or insult, with two possibilities, positive or negative. The end result is a highly complex system with only a few commands. Oh, and Munch has the coolest tag line around: "Good news! It's animal testing! Bad news! You're the Rabbit!"

The Hand of Odd is another unique game from Oddworld Inhabitants, and this one's possibly even stranger. Here's the concept: it's a real time strategy game set in the Oddworld universe. What makes this strange, is the fact that there isn't a war going on! Instead of opposing sides to a war, you've got two clashing ideologies. On one side you’ve got the happy-go-lucky ECO Extremists, and on the other it's the Greedy Industrialists. It's not really about their being at war, so much as their fighting to exist independently. Here's an example: in order for the Industrialists to expand their empire, they've got to dump their toxic waste somewhere. And in order for the ECO guys to exist, they've got to keep planting trees, which get killed off by the toxic waste. Yowza. This looks to be one heck of a game…look for it in a few years for the PSX2 and PC platforms.

 

(Continued on next page)

 

Credits: Illustration © 1999 Rowan Crawford. This article is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it...or we'll peck your eyes out.