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Romance requirements

Love is in the air around the corridors of Rare thanks to this touching story that appeared on our favourite forums earlier, where one gamer asked another the another to marry them through the medium of Viva Pinata.

Procrasturbate said “I sent the only diamond my digger has ever found, with a note attached asking her to marry me.”

Bless. Who would have ever thought my trading system would have been used in such a way?

Edit: it seems as though others have picked up the story, too:

I said what?

Well I’ve recently come across the first of mine and Justin’s musings with Gamasutra. Yes, it’s a week old and you’ve heard pretty much what we’ve said in it but I’m very excited about it as it’s the first interview I’ve ever given.

There is a longer section that they plan to write up but I wouldn’t hold out for that any time soon, especially as they said they were still working through their E3 transcripts. I can’t really remember what we said in the forthcoming section, given the distraction of the whole Con, so it will be interesting to read back what I actually/supposedly said.

Comic Con 2007: The VP Panel Expedition

Here we go, the report I’ve been promising and that I’ve forced all my workmates to read: it’s so long, it’s deserves its own page.

Comic Con: Day 3

And we’re done.

Today was the reason we went out there for. After filling my bag with numerous paperbacks and giant mushrooms, Justin and I had an actual panel. It went well and we were relieved to find that people actually turned up and wanted to hear about Viva Pinata. Best of all, though, we got to reveal the new VP DS. A world exclusive to Comic Con and I hope our bumbling style did it justice.

 There will be more from me on this once we’re back as I’ve got to write the entire thing up for work; no doubt I’ll paste the entire thing up hear for you to divulge in detail, should you so wish.

See you back in the UK.

Edit: Here’s today’s photos.

Viva Pinata: Party Animals

We had a treat in the office this afternoon as the kind people over at Krome pushed a build of Viva Pinata:Party Animals our way. For a couple of hours after lunch today we played pass-the-controller as numerous devs tried to get a look in on the action.

Things started off with a racing game. Each of the four players gets to control a single character from the TV series as you make your way around Pinata Island. We were lucky enoguh to get to play on a handful of them although there are roughly a dozen in total.

No karts here, your pinatas runs through the streets in a bid to get to the finish line first, aided and abetted by various presents which you pick up on the way. These presents can contain things to help your, such as boosts or what was seemingly growth hormones, or items to hinder your opponents, like the bee hive which drops liberal amounts of honey over the tracks to snare you rivals. 

Don't beat them, join them

For me, though, the racing was a precursor to the main event: a round of mini-games. After you’ve crossed the finish line you are treated to a collection of single-screen games that are mostly involving and competitive, with the majority giving you the chance to interact with your fellow players (read: screw your mates over).

My personal favourites were the a couple that I believe were included in the announcement trailer. The first being where you must encourage your chosen character to have as big a burp as possible, with the ensuing wind driving your toy sail boat across a pond and hopefully over the finish line first.

The other was where the pinatas turned on their own kind and actually had to destroy another pinata. The cool part of this game was that the targeted pinata was dangling on a string and so every whack you made sent it spinning and swaying madly. From that point your swings of the bat had to be controlled and timely to get the job done.

To its credit, what every mini-game had was a very accessible control scheme but not to the detriment of giving experienced gamers a good time. Most things seemed simple at first but some games promoted risk for reward, others were pure buttons bashers and yet more had a ton of interaction with the other three players.

I daren’t say anymore in case I risk my job but I have to say we were all pleasantly surprised, having not seen it before, and the fact we played it for so long could speak for itself. Admittedly I was quite skeptical when I first heard about this spin-off but I think fears have been allayed.


Looks like Viva Pinata has managed to sneak its way into Forza 2. This is a picture taken by Mr Fiddler on the New York track.

Look at my lovely Goobaa

I thought I’d just show off my new Goobaa to fill the time before my next proper update.

Fantabulous prizes

This week saw the conclusion to an interesting little contest over on Pinata Island, where forum goers were invited to enter the Create-a-Rare-Developer-as-a-Pinata Competition. The rules were simple: pick someone from the game’s credits and create that person as if they were a piñata in the game. With no limits on the mediums that could be used and with the added incentive of mystery prizes from us here at Rare, we always knew the results would be interesting.

Those that were posted were indeed varied. From Lego to clay, from pencil to actual piñata, the range was impressive and you could tell a lot of thought, time and effort had gone into many of them. We even had a complete homage to the way the piñata’s information is described in-game, which was particular close to my heart.

Of course with every contest there has to be a winner and in this case it was Lazria’s Goldipop which proved popular with the dev team. Mainly, I think, because we can all imagine Andy as a floundering fish, but the thought he inspired someone else to name a goldfish after him is priceless.

For a rundown of all the final results, check this link.

I am now surrounded by a box full of VP and Rare branded swag that will be distributed shortly to all the various winners. Luckily most of it is reasonably flat and can easily by jiffy bagged but I’m not so sure about the mugs, hopefully they’ll survive the transatlantic post.

Pinata Hero

For those of you with Guitar Hero, did you ever think that the guitar peripheral was missing a certain something?

I did. I started sticking and just forgot to stop.