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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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ACMI Screen_0 GAME ON Game On! @ ACMI

This time, it's personal

Sun, 3 February 2008

Aussie_N6 by: Australian Ninja

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There are two art forms I truly love in this world more than any other; Comic Books and Video Games, in that order. They both can be written with or without hyphenation and nobody can seem to decide what works.

They are also sometimes looked down upon by other more successful media. Yes, like comedian Rodney Dangerfield they "don't get no respect". But fortunately for us geeks and obsessive types ACMI says different (okay I don't know about you, but I'm freakishly obsessive when it comes to my hobbies why else would I be sitting her with a sore back typing away past midnight on a Saturday night?)

Anyhow, the good folks at ACMI know how to treat video games with respect - and they are proving it once again - by hosting another kick ass exhibit, devoted to the hobby with with more button mashing than any other.

Usually with PR releases there is a whole bunch of fluff and about 5% actual useful information, not so with the ACMI press releases. Which is why I'm running the whole thing here, the information is on a need to know basis - and you need to know my friend, if you know what's good for you that is.

I don't expect everybody to read it all, what with most people's attention spans giving up after about 30 seconds or so (hey we just lost someone right then, did you hear them click over to ign or some site with a billion articles and videos?) Oh well, to get any use out of Buttonhole you need to be able to read, think for yourself and be at least mildly interesting, otherwise what the heck are you doing here?

For those still here, skim over the info below and see what interests you. The exhibit will be on for quite a while so plan ahead and make the trip to inner Melbourne, it'll be well worth your time. I'll be going two or three times, most likely in my usual solitary fashion, unless some poor soul foolishly agrees to go with me (Sam Hillier, I'm looking in your direction).

Over 120 playable games to feature in Game On

ACMI Screen 2 game on
Jump Man vs Monkey Kong! (any similarities to King Kong are purely coincidental)
Game On Exhibition - Thursday 6 March - Sunday 13 July, 2008, ACMI Screen Gallery
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne
Tickets: Full $15 / Concession: $10 / Family (2 Adults, 2 children) $44

Rare early arcade games from the late '70s and early '80s including Pong (1976), Space Invaders (1978), Asteroids (1979) and Donkey Kong (1982); home consoles and personal computers from the past 30 years including working versions of the Magnavox Odyssey (1972) - the first console to made videogames playable on the TV screen and early P.C.s such as the Commodore 64 and the Sinclair Spectrum.

Classic movie-inspired games such as GoldenEye; Star Wars and Discs of Tron; a special kid-friendly games area; as well as sections devoted to sound design and music in games; Australian-developed games, online games and original games artwork will be among the highlights of Game On, the forthcoming international exhibition dedicated to the history and future of videogames and games culture, which opens March 6, 2008 exclusively in Australia at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

Curated by Conrad Bodman (ACMI's Head of Exhibitions) and Lucien King for the Barbican Art Gallery‚ Game On will feature over 120 playable games, most of which will be presented in their original formats. For example Space Invaders will be playable on the original cocktail table machines which populated the pubs, milk bars and arcades of the late '70s, while GoldenEye (still considered one of the best first-person shooter games of all time) will be playable on its original platform, the Nintendo 64.

What's in the Game On exhibition? An overview

Early Arcade Games
This section traces the development of video-games - from their birth in the research labs of America, to their colonisation of the bars and arcades. Included in the exhibition is Spacewar (1962), the earliest electronic space game ever developed and played on a room-size computer; the first arcade videogame to be developed Computer Space (1971) and Pong (1972), the iconic table tennis game that gave the fledgling medium its first rush of mainstream popularity and remains one of the most widely played videogames of all time.

Games Consoles
This section explores the story of game consoles from 1972 to the present day. It describes and displays the range of machines produced by Atari, Sega, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and others, which have brought gaming into the home over the last 30 years. Visitors are able to play and see some of the key consoles, including the first one made for the home - a replica of The Brown Box (1968) the first prototype designed to make video games playable on the TV screen, and also its subsequent commercial release the Magnavox Odyssey (1972).

Also included is the console fondly remembered by many Gen X'ers as their first introduction to home gaming - the Atari VCS. Featuring a simple console with snappy wood-grained panelling, two joystick controls and all games supplied on separate cartridges, the Atari VCS (later renamed the Atari 2600) single-handedly created the home-gaming market, and is ranked in PC World Magazine's most 50 Best Tech products of All Time.

ACMI Screen 1 game on
Ah yes, the games of the future will all be haunted by strange ladies in white
Games Families
This section looks at the world of games and examines where the impetus for different kinds of game play has come from. With 35 playable games, this area is divided into three main parts and follows the classification of games families devised by the Le Diberder brothers in their book L'Univers des Jeux Video. Games featured in this section include adventure games Secret of Monkey Island and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the racing game Indy 500, and simulation games such as Sim City.

This section celebrates the critical importance of sound in game design and explores early music from the 8, 16 and 32 bit eras, sound effects and composed music for games. It showcases composers whose music has featured in games including well-known music stars such as Orbital, Gorillaz and Prodigy.

This section looks at the links between videogames and film and features playable arcade games such as Star Wars (Atari) and Discs of Tron (Bally Midway), and more recent console-based hits renowned for their dynamic game play including GoldenEye (Rare). In addition, this section showcases original posters and clips from films that have been developed from games such as Tomb Raider and Resident Evil.

Games Culture - USA, Europe, Japan
This thematic section examines the way games reflect and influence wider culture, including the debate over violence in games, the role of the independent game company and the influence of sport on games. Also explored are some of the key game developers in North America and Europe. Playable games include Tony Hawks - American Wasteland, Pro Evolution Soccer 6 and John Madden American Football. This section also investigates what is distinctive about the Japanese contribution to games and includes displays on the influence of manga (comic book art) and anime (cartoons). Playable games include a version of Dragonball Z and SailorMoon.

Multiplayer Games
With the arrival of the network, multiplayer online gaming has become one of the most important gaming trends of recent times and has changed the landscape of PC, console and arcade based gaming already. Playable games in this section will include Warlords (played on the old Atari VCS) and Halo 3 (Microsoft).

Online Games and Machinima
This section explores the vibrant world of Online games and the communities which participate in them. A screening program allows visitors to experience online environments such as World of Warcraft and Second Life. Within this section will be a series of Machinima films created in game engines and shared online and visitors will be able to play Fury (Auran) - a major Australian online game.

Kids Games
The rich history of games designed for children is explored in this section. Playable games include Hey You! Pikachu (Nintendo 64), Cookie Monster Munch (Atari VCS) ,Bob the Builder (Sony PlayStation) and the recent Australian games Pony Friends (Nintendo DS) and Sonic X (Leapster). There will also be a display of hand-held games and a collection of portable gaming systems, including the Game Boy and MB Microvision.

ACMI Screen 3 game on
After long gaming sessions, I develop a tendency to Pong
Character Design
Game characters have had a significant profile since Pac-Man was launched in the 80s. In this section the development of two of the most important game characters, Sonic (the Hedgehog) and Mario, is explored, and in particular, the role of their creators, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto (Mario) and Sega's Yuji Naka (Sonic).

The Making and Marketing of Games
The game design process from concept drawing to packaged product is examined in this section, focusing on some of the most important games of recent times: Grand Theft Auto (Rockstar Games), The Pokémon Phenomenon (GameFreak), The Sims (Maxis), Tomb Raider (Core Design) and Dragon's Lair (Don Bluth Studios). Each display includes never previously exhibited original character sketches and environmental designs.

Future Technology
A range of emerging technology and content trends are showcased, giving some indication of the shape that gaming may take over the next decade and will include Sony's Eyetoy and the revolutionary Nintendo Wii. Past visions of future technology including the Vectrex Imager and the Nintendo Powerglove will also be shown.

Ten top Australian Games
Exclusive to the Australian incarnation of Game On will be a special addition of the ten top videogames made in Australia. Among the highlights will be Puzzle Quest voted 2007 Game of the Year by the GDA (Games Developers Association); The Hobbit and The Way of the Exploding Fist, two titles from early '80s by Melbourne developer Beam Software (Melbourne House), and Krome Studios' international hit Ty the Tasmanian Tiger.

by: Australian Ninja

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Which of the following game genres do you like the most?
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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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