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Best of GameSetWatch: From Spore Islands to Dark Tower

We highlight the week's alternative news and curiosities from sister blog GameSetWatch -- this time exploring Facebook's Spore spin-off, a game based on Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, and much more.
[Gamasutra highlights a week's worth of alternative video gaming news, media, and other curiosities from sister blog GameSetWatch, as written by editor Eric Caoili.] This round-up brings news on 3D Dot Game Heroes's loading screens paying homage to classic boxarts, Electronic Gaming Monthly's first cover since the magazine suspended publication 10 months ago, and the partial lineup announced for premier chiptune event Blip Festival 2009. Other highlights include Area/Code's Spore Islands spin-off debut on Facebook (pictured), and an online game based on Stephen King's beloved book series The Dark Tower. This past week's top stories: - Area/Code Unveils Spore Islands Facebook Game "NYC-based 'cross-media' developer Area/Code (Parking Wars, Drop7) last night revealed Spore Islands, a Facebook game spin-off of Electronic Arts's Spore, with an open beta." - The Dark Tower Game Teased "Those expecting an action title that has Roland firing away at Mutant lobsters or an RPG taking your Ka-tet across All-World will likely be disappointed, as the project looks like an online interactive game (my guess) centered around the Tet Corporation's secret war with North Central Positronics and Sombra Corporation, both companies under control by Insomnia/The Dark Tower villain Crimson King." - Blip Festival 2009 Site Launched, Partial Lineup Announced "Running December 17th to the 19th at Brooklyn's Bell House, the chiptune festival will feature celebrated acts like Bit Shifter, Disasterpeace, Leeni, Little-Scale, Nullsleep, and The J. Arthur Keenes Band." - 3D Dot Game Heroes Loading Screens Recall Japanese Boxarts "From Software 3D Dot Game Heroes isn't paying tribute to just The Legend of Zelda; no, the game also gives a nod to dozens of other classics by recreating their Japanese packaging illustrations in its loading screens." - Raise Pups In New WolfQuest Episode "'Pups will be six weeks old, with coloration based on the coats of your wolf and your mate. You will be able to interact with your pups (in fact, it will be essential to their survival!), though you will not be able to design them. The game will accurately reflect real threats to pups, and like real wolf pups, it is quite possible that some will not survive. So you must do your best to take care of them!'" - EGM Returns With Mass Effect 2 Cover, Old Logo "Steve Harris, Electronic Gaming Monthly's founder and once again owner after re-acquiring its publishing rights earlier this year, revealed the returning magazine's cover for its planned December 2009 issue, which features Mass Effect 2's Commander Shepard (in fact, it's a variation of the game's boxart)." - Socrates Enix: Final Fantasy And Philosophy "Final Fantasy and Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough seeks to accomplish more than just examine the Square Enix series' philosophical issues and compare Mages and Moogles with Machiavelli and Marx; it also claims to give you 'a psychological advantage -- or at least a philosophical one -- against your Final Fantasy enemies.'" - SurfaceScapes: Virtual Tabletop Gaming "Developed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University as a proof-of-concept for playing tabletop role-playing games with Microsoft Surface, SurfaceScapes provides a set of features designed to immerse both game masters and players with virtual representations of their game environments and characters."

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