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GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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Hyper Magazine Logo Q&A With Cam Shea

Hyper's editor answers our probing questions

Thu, 20 January 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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Hyper magazine's editor - Mr. Cam Shea, was kind enough to spend some time answering our geeky questions. We think you will find the results both interesting and amusing.

Q. You are the editor of Hyper; the undisputed bible of Australasian gaming. How did you get to that position? What qualifications were required?

I slept my way to the top dammit. Sure, "integrity" and "morals" may be integral to a functional society, but to me they're just the disgusting pith at the fruity core of debaucherous possibilities.
Actually it was largely a combination of luck, passion for gaming and a good understanding of the magazine. I freelanced for Hyper (and a few other mags) for a couple of years, then a position opened up on a PlayStation magazine here at Next so I was in the office full time, and before long BLAU! Dan Toose left, Eliot took over as editor and I slid into the deputy position. El and I worked together for a few years which was great, and when he decided he needed a change I took over as editor. It's such a *sob* beautiful story ;)
Qualifications you say? Some variety of degree relating to english languagability doesn't hurt ('me fail english? That's unpossible?'), but it was really more important to "get" gaming and Hyper. Living and breathing videogames, a good sense of humour and the ability to write conversationally were paramount. And then there’s having a good understanding of the business side of things. Aka the bottomline. But that's boring.

Q. What are your duties and responsibilities as Hyper's editor?

Pretty much everything, from planning everything that will go into each issue and chasing up distributors for code/interviews/assets/comps, through to commissioning work to freelancers and worrying about the budget. Because we only have two full time editorial team members, Daniel and I share responsibilities - picking and choosing what each of us will do as the magazine takes shape, but the basic difference is that he focuses more on playing and writing, while I have more administrative/organisational stuff to look after.

Q. Hyper seems to be going from strength to strength. In what ways did you hope to change and improve the magazine after taking over the editorial position from Eliot Smith? Do you have any specific plans for the near future that you hope will make Hyper even better?

Who is this Eliot Smith guy you're talking about? You mean Lord Seafood aka Eliot Fish? ;) (Sammy's note: this was a typo on my behalf; I really do know the name of the legendary Lord Seafood, of Big Heavy Stuff!)

One of Hyper's greatest strengths is its sense of humour, and that's something that Daniel and I really try to capitalise on. It makes working on the mag more fun for us and it also sets Hyper apart from the ever increasing amount of competition in the marketplace - not just from other magazines but from online sites. If you don't feel a connection to the writers and trust the magazine's heritage, then why would you stay loyal to it? Hyper has always had a really loyal core fanbase and we think that has a lot to do with a uniquely Australian personality and humour. So that's been one of our unofficial goals - if we think something's funny we run with it.
Other than that we've tried to make the mag a little more feature driven - cool interviews and articles can spice the mag up no end, both in terms of content and in what Malky can do layout-wise.

Q. What is the typical response when you tell people (especially non-gamers)what it is you do for a living?

To be honest I usually pretend to be working in a much more exciting field. Like accountancy.

Q. Since you play so many games every single day, do you sometimes simply not feel like playing anything? If so, how do you overcome this problem and regain your enthusiasm?

It's inevitable that we get jaded from time to time. We can usually find something to get us excited though - whether it's a funky game like Katamari Damacy that pops up out of nowhere or a new hardware launch (N-gage excluded). And the best part about running the show is that we pick the games we want to cover each issue so we can keep things interesting.

Q. On a somewhat related note, what are the best things and the worst things about your job?

Best thing - the crew. Man we have so much fun doing this job. Working with Malky and Wilks means I'm always happy to go to work. And then there's the peripheral guys in the office like Amos, Wildgoose, Bennett, Staines, Butters, plus our writers who drop in to hang out or have a beer like Steve, Dewhurst, Moemar etc etc. It's the people that make this job so much fun, and that's one of the reasons we play on the crew thing in the mag - we want the readers to feel part of it all.
Other than that, playing games before anyone else is its own reward. There's just nothing like preview code of Resident Evil 4 turning up in the mail! We also have a lot of freedom to work at our own pace and really mold the magazine the way we want to. It's not a corporate environment at all.
Oh, and of course the readers. We get our fair share of mail bitching about stuff, but we also get heaps of feedback from people who obviously dig the spirit of the magazine. There's nothing more rewarding than bumping into a Hyper reader on the street who wants to talk about the mannerism or who asks how Amos is!
Worst things - deadlines. And the sucky food in Redfern.

Q. If you could have a threesome with any two female (or male if you want to swing that way) celebrities who would you choose?

Charisma Carpenter and a clone of Charisma Carpenter.

Q. There are often reports of how gaming can lead to all kinds of negative behaviour. Games get blamed for school shootings, poor health and many other problems. Would you say that video games and gamers get treated unfairly when it comes to the way the media presents them?

Sure, but take a look at how sensationalist the media is these days. If you watch the news on commercial channels, it's no longer just "news". There's a large slice of investigative journalism ("our hidden camera exposes" etc), "exclusive reports" and human interest stuff thrown in. The media thrives on scapegoats (I mean hell, look at Hyper and George Lucas and John "hair model" Romero) and it's a lot easier to present a simplistic view of a situation than it is the far more complex reality.

Q. Again, on a related note; do you think that, to the general population, the profile of gamers has improved? Are we still perceived as nerdy loners or has the industry become widespread enough that this image is no longer prevalent?

Well, a recent survey of American gamers by the ESA showed that 79% of gamers exercise or play sports for an average of 20 hours a month, and that basically we're a pretty diverse (and healthy) cross section of people. I think these days so many people dip into games that it's hard to keep that myth going. It's still there, but it's definitely changing.

Q. Female gamers remain in the vast minority. Why do you think this is and in what ways do you believe the gaming industry could attract more female players?

I actually don't think they're the vast minority. There are plenty of girl gamers out there - maybe the guys are just a little more vocal about it. In terms of attracting more girls, the DS is going to lead the charge. All the girls we know have gone nuts for the Mario 64 mini games, whether they like gaming or not.

Q. What are some of your interests outside of gaming?

Music, music and music. Specifically funky-ass electronic music. I'm also really going crazy for anime these days, and have a home theatre setup at home so watch heaps of DVDs. Of course I love the Simpsons (THE defining show for our generation - although season 16 has been pretty hit and miss so far) and I love a good book (stuff like Michael Marshall Smith, His Dark Materials, Neal Stephenson, Jeff Noon etc).

Q. Tell us some of your all time favourite and least favourite games.

All time favourites? Yoshi's Island, Doom, Quake 3, Paper Mario 1&2, Wipeout, Ridge Racer, Half-Life 2, Streeties, PaRappa, Puzzle Fighter, Wind Waker, Mario Tennis, Mashed, Tony Hawk 2, Burnout 3 and many more.
Least favourite? Haha who do I want to offend? Let's see - Driv3r and The Getaway spring to mind. But really, you can't go past Catwoman and Cricket 2004 for me.

Q. Which games can you still kick arse at while all boozed up? Which games do you suck the most at while all boozed up?

Depends on how boozed up I am. Or, as a British friend of mine would say, how "wankered" I am. But I'm not going to pretend my L337 skills transcend alcohol poisoning, cos they don't. I guess I can still kick butt in games like Mario Tennis and Mashed, but that's probably because the crew would be at a similar level of intoxication ;P
Other stimulants though... That's another story.

Q. Some people have a certain period in videogame history that they consider to be the best. There are folks who love the 8 Bit era, others who swear that nothing today is as good as the games from the SNES/Mega drive days and so forth. Do you have an era of gaming that you think of particularly fondly?

Damn that's a hard one. I would say 16bit, but you know what? I think I had more fun in the PSone era. That was when it became a really social thing for me - mates coming around every night to hang out and play games. Games like Wipeout and Ridge Racer really felt like a new, flashy era, and the amount of time we spent playing them (as well as games like Tekken 1&2) was just absurd. I still love the old school stuff, but the PSone was really fun. Plus I actually had cash to spend on games.

Q. It is also quite common (especially with the internet geeks) to hear people claim that the gameplay of today's games is not as addictive as it was with the old school titles. Do you think that the gameplay of today is superior to the games of the past?

Damn geeks. When will they learn? Yes, I firmly believe that gameplay today is much more interesting and compelling than it once was. Take those damn rose coloured glasses off and it doesn't take much to realise just how much more is on offer " both in terms of variety and sophistication. We have decades of gaming evolution behind us. Sport games, RPGs, racing games, fighting games, whatever genre you want to pick - they've never been better. Then there are fusions of genres, such as Deus Ex. There's the massive online gaming scene. There's games that appeal to a wider cross section of society like The Sims. There's the integration of real world physics as a core component of gameplay. Gaming has never been healthier.
And that;s the flipside of the argument that there's a dearth of creativity and innovation these days. Yes, there's more money at stake and companies are less prepared to take risks, but the industry as a whole is so massive that you don't have to look hard to find seriously compelling content.

Q. Since you play games all the time, do you consider yourself to be a highly skilled player? Are there certain genres that you are better at than others?

I'd say I have a decent skill level across a wide spectrum, but I simply don't have time to specialise on a genre or particular title. It's just the nature of working in the industry. Compared to guys who play nothing but BF1942 or Counter-Strike I'd get owned.

Q. Who do you reckon would win in a fight between Batman and Daredevil?

Yeah, that's a question for Wilks. But just to piss him off, I'd say Batman.

Q. What movie do you think has the most potential to be made into a great game? What game do you think has the most potential to be made into a great movie?

Movie? You Got Served.
Game? Wizball.

Q. Which do you believe will be more successful, the Nintendo DS or the Sony PSP?

Hmm... Battery issues notwithstanding I think the PSP is going to be huge with the mainstream, but it's too early to call. I think they can happily co-exist.

Q. In your opinion what is the most underappreciated console ever: Gamecube,Dreamcast, Sega Saturn etc?

Dreamcast definitely. Some of those games still look and play fantastically today. Oh, and if the guy who stole my Dreamcast is reading this - give it back you fucker.

Q. What is the worst system you've ever owned: N-Gage, Virtual Boy, Jaguar etc?

Man I WISH I owned a Virtual Boy. I'd say the N-Gage is probably the most ill-conceived. I'm a big fan of Nokia's phones but the N-Gage is just a disaster. I really don't see any reason to ever play one, and it looks hopelessly out of date compared to the DS and PSP. It just doesn't have the technology under the hood to play relevant games. Give me a phone/gaming hybrid with an oled screen and decent GPU and I'll get excited.

Q. How do you see the gaming industry of the future? Do you think it will remain a Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo battle, or do you think someone will drop out of the race? Or, would it be possible for another company to successfully get involved?

In the future, everyone will wear matching clothes made out of shiny material with big boots. Unless Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey lied to me. Which I sincerely doubt. Oh, sorry, the games industry of the future? Those three are in for the long haul. I don't see any other company out there having the nouse to try and get involved. And if they do, Shiggy and Bill Gates will lay the smack down.

Q. How do you think the way we interact with games might change? For instance we are already seeing things such as the Eyetoy and the DS touch screen. Will the humble control pad ever be replaced by a whole new method of control?

I've been waiting for a radically new control method for ages. And no, not the Power Glove II. Hopefully Sony will build a much more sophisticated version of the Eyetoy into the PS3. Having it native to the system could really open up possibilities. And then there's Nintendo's next system. They traditionally drive innovations in this area, of which the DS is a great example, so fingers crossed.

Q. If you weren't in the gaming industry what other job could you see yourself doing?

Drug tsar. Or possibly a Richard Dean Anderson stunt double. That'd be sweet.

Thanks very much for your time.

by: Hillelman

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More articles by Hillelman

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ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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