A poetic tribute to Satoru Iwata

Bound by earth no longer you are,
Gone to regions we know not where,
A season too long, a place too far,
Leaving behind much precious fare.

We treasure your love for yellow fruit,
Your Peppy nature,
Your mellow mood.

(C) Johnathan Sia 2015

Your passing from this earth was too sudden, too quick. Your contributions to Nintendo and indeed, to the rest of the world are incalculable Iwata-san. Rest in peace. May you be surrounded by your creations.

Satoru Iwata, CEO, Nintendo, 1959-2015

On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.
– Satoru Iwata, speaking at the Game Developers Conference in 2005

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A father’s heart – how parenthood changes how you view things

Embed from Getty Images I watch my child grow and as a father I wonder if I can protect her from all the dangers the world poses. The drugs, the alcohol, porn, violence, bullying, the list of things that can hurt her seem endless. Sometimes I wonder how I might react if she lost a limb or an eye in an accident. How will I react then? How will we react as a family then?

I have fatherly fears, hopes, and wishes. I hope my daughter will grow up to be a graceful, independent, strong woman but I know that means an interesting growing up phase.

I want to tell my daughter that cuts and bruises will heal. That words will too, after a time. Sometimes after a season. I want to teach her how to bounce back. How to take life’s hits and get up stronger. To get back better. If she faces bullying I want to be there to hold her, to teach her how to handle it, to say she’s not alone.

I want to build a protective bubble over her so nothing can hurt her but I know that’s foolishness. That very act will be one that stunts her growth and lead to resentment.

As a father, I never see onscreen father daughter interactions the same way I did before the joys of fatherhood. Even seeing younger characters portrayed on screen brings different reactions to me. It’s a story being played out. The character’s story. Written by writers of varying degrees of talent.

My child will have her own story. Written by her own hand. Directed by her own heart. But guided by the love of her father and mother. That much is certain.

This father’s day, I can only think about my late stepfather

This morning was an interesting time… While the part about waking up was pretty normal with the sounds of a boisterous and very awake 1.5 year old baby girl acting as my alarm, the rest of the morning wasn’t.

Oh I wished people happy fathers day as usual and dug out last year’s poem to share again since I couldn’t quite work out a new one in time that I was happy with, but something was missing. Or rather, someone. My late stepfather. Someone whom I had at least made an effort to get to know despite his rather sudden entry into my life when he proposed to my mother 5 years ago.

I miss his dearly. When I was sharing the poem and wishing other people happy father’s day, I thought of him and how I’d never get to wish him happy father’s day again until the day we meet in heaven. I only knew him for a few moments but those moments impacted my heart greatly.

Lou Dao, I will make you proud of me. Your death has to mean something despite the suddenness and speed of the heart attack that took your life.

I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

AttackOnTitan-Copyright

On 1 May, Atlus issued a statement detailing their plans for the Western release of Attack on Titan: Humanity In Chains, a localisation of the previous Japan-only entry, Attack on Titan: Last Wings of Mankind, which released in December 2013.

While North American fans of the blockbuster anime series were delighted to learn that the game would release stateside on 12 May, European fans were left disappointed by the announcement of a delay due to a copyright claim.

Baffled fans said things like

Attack on titan copyright

and

Attack on titan copyright2

and

Attack on titan copyright3

And they had a point. A quick search on Google Play reveals dozens of entries with with “Titan” as an integral part of the name. Atlus didn’t release any details or hints about who issued a copyright claim against them for Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. But I’ve done some internet sleuthing and discovered who might be the real culprit behind it.

The official European Union trademark database (OHIM/CTM) contains details of the copyright filing and the subsequent opposition for Attack on Titan (CTM013347331).

Timeline of events:

10 Oct 2014 – Trademark application by Kondansha Ltd for “Attack on Titan” wordmark under classes 9 and 28 (covering computer games and electronic games)

25 Nov 2014 – Application published for opposition with a deadline of 25 Feb 2015 for any trademark opposition to be filed.

25 Feb 2015 – Opposition filed by PT Entertainment Limited against “Attack on Titan” under grounds of “Likelihood of confusion”.

26 Feb 2015 – OHIM begins investigations into the validity of the opposition claim and informs Kodansha Ltd about it.

6 March 2015 – OHIM declares the opposition claim is admissible as it is based on an earlier right for “Titan”.

11 May 2015 – Expiry of ‘cooling-off’ period

12 May 2015 – Beginning of adversarial part of opposition proceedings

11 July 2015 – Deadline for submission of further material to substantiate earlier rights.

Who are PT Entertainment Limited and what do they do?

From my investigations, they are an “interactive gaming” company based in Antigua and operates Titanbet and Winner, both online gambling sites. It’s also a subsidiary of Playtech, “the world’s largest online gaming software supplier”.

Now, back to the copyright claim in question. According to the trademark filing information, PT Entertainment Limited filed opposition against Attack on Titan for the following trademarks on 25 Feb 2014:

  • Titan Poker
  • Titan Bet
  • Titan Casino
  • Titan

What did the opposition possibly mean for Atlus?

This is speculation but I believe Atlus held off as long as they could for PT Entertainment to withdraw their opposition claim but ultimately felt a decision needed to be made.

To the casual observer, there is no chance of anyone getting confused and mistaking Attack on Titan as a gambling game but this is a legal issue and it’s one for the lawyers to deal with.

In the meantime, I invite casual observer to be confused by Attack on Titan’s similarity to Titan.

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

And here’s the Nintendo eShop trailer:

The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next SteamWorld Ambassador challenge (for those of you good at math, we’re on to the second challenge) is now live on the Image & Form blog.

The challenge this time is for the visually creative types out there, with those possessing steady hands being in an advantageous position – or if steady hands aren’t available, then the ability to scribble in the shape of a hat will do just nicely. Essentially, you’ll need to “design a hat that will appear in SteamWorld Heist”.

SteamWorld-Heist-Hat-sketch

From Image & Form

What’s the payoff for this? As with the first challenge, the winner will be “among the first in the world to play SteamWorld Heist before release” and will get codes for every platform it releases on plus a few spares to give to people you want/need/desire to be indebted to you. SteamWorld Heist is slated to release on the 3DS, Steam, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U and mobile.

Intrigued? Watch this video and quickly mosey over to the Image & Form blog page for the competition and make your submission (or just forget the video and just get over there and make a submission quickly). And please please please make sure you complete your submission by Friday May 8th at 23:59 CEST (EU) / 5:59 PM EDT (NA).

Good luck!

I’m one of the first SteamWorld Ambassadors!

I’m one of the first SteamWorld Ambassadors!

A week ago, while putting my baby to bed, I noticed that Image & Form were running a competition to find their first SteamWorld Ambassador. It was right up my alley too considering it involved giving a funky and creative name to something, in this case, an in-game weapon.

I came up with a few suggestions but felt I wanted to revisit them since I was quite tired already when I came up with them (laid out in order of submission):

  • The Water Cooler
  • The People Splasher
  • Rust In Piece (which apart from the pun could also handily be shortened to R.I.P.)
  • Rust In Pieces

Rather in keeping with my idea generation style (which involves going through rubbish before the good stuff comes), the very last idea came up trumps.

Excerpt from the announcement:

The first SteamWorld Ambassadors are…

TheGamingWolf for providing our weapon with the name “Cranky’s Delight”!

James Jackson for suggesting the name “The Bolt .45″ which will be given to another weapon.

jsty3105 for the incredibly creative pun “Rust in pieces!”. We’ll not use it as a weapon name, but it will appear in SteamWorld Heist as a bark (epic one liner).

So, whoopee! I didn’t name the weapon in the end, but my submission will be added as in-game text! Wee! Another mark to add to my copywriting portfolio.

Today, I received the formal announcement email from Image & Form:

Howdy!
My name is Brjánn and I’m the CEO at Image & Form Games. With this e-mail I’d like to congratulate you on winning last week’s challenge and officially welcome you to the SteamWorld Ambassadors Club!
As a SteamWorld Ambassador you’ll be among the first in the world to play SteamWorld Heist before release. The game will launch on one or two platforms at a time starting this fall, and prior to every platform release we’llsend you a download code free of charge. We’ll even add a few spares you can give to your friends.
You and the other ambassadors also get access to exclusive information about the SteamWorld games as they progress. We’ll send you the first secret some time next week 🙂
We don’t expect anything in return from you for this, but of course we hope you share our videos and blog updates or just tweet or comment about the SteamWorld games once in a while. Sharing a link on NeoGAF, Reddit or your favorite gaming forum would also be of tremendous help to us.
We’ll continue the SteamWorld Ambassador challenges every other Tuesday. In the weeks between the challenges you’ll find blog posts with exciting new info, pictures and videos about SteamWorld Heist directly from our dev team. We’ll keep you updated via email 🙂
We have major stuff coming up, so I hope you’re ready!
PS. Are you on Twitter? If so, let’s connect! Our handle is @imageform 🙂
Best regards,
Brjann Sigurgeirsson
CEO, Image & Form
Soooo looks like I’ll grab this opportunity to start sharing new stuff about SteamWorld Heist. I got a lot of joy from playing through SteamWorld Dig on my 3DS and I’m really looking forward to experiencing this next entry in the SteamWorld universe on my Wii U and 3DS.
Happy days! Check out the couple of official screenshots and the gameplay trailer below.