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Capcom

The Producer of DuckTales Remastered

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Capcom

Life is like a hurricane here in Duckburg
Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes—it's a duck blur
You might solve a mystery or rewrite history
DuckTales, Oo-oo

If you’re a child of the '80s, chances are good that you don’t need any more lyrics to finish that song all on your own. Disney’s classic animated series, based on Carl Banks’ Uncle Scrooge comic books, only ran for four seasons and 100 episodes, but it’s one of the most beloved nostalgic treasures of the 1980s.

In 1989, Capcom took their side-scrolling Mega Man game engine and applied it to the Disney hit to create DuckTales for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It soon became one of the console’s most memorable games.

Now, Capcom has created a gorgeously animated update of the classic platformer called DuckTales Remastered. Imagine all the fun of the original game with brand new high-definition graphics, additional storyline, and great voice acting from many of the cartoon’s original actors.

Out now for PS3, Wii U, and PC (and releasing on Xbox 360 on September 11), it’s like a little nostalgia time machine. DuckTales Remastered producer Rey Jimenez talked to us about reviving the classic DuckTales game, why the property is remembered so fondly, and some of his favorite games growing up.

What prompted you guys at Capcom to bring DuckTales back to life?

It was the fact that DuckTales the NES game and the show still have quite a lot of fans at both Capcom and Disney. We’ve also received a lot of requests over the years from fans saying that they love DuckTales the game and would love to see it come back again.

Can you tell us briefly what sets DuckTales Remastered apart from the original DuckTales, aside from new graphics and sound?

We’re really bringing the show to life using the NES game as the framework. Aside from the graphics and sound, the storytelling and VO work makes the game feel like long-lost episodes of the show. All the while, the team has gone through great strides to make sure the gameplay kept the charm of what made the NES version so iconic.

How important was it for you guys to get the original voice actors from the show back to work on DuckTales Remastered?

I don’t think there was any other option for us. That was all Disney’s doing. They suggested adding VO to the game and they contracted all of the actors and did all of the recordings. I think, to feel as authentic as possible, getting the original actors is the best move possible and the Disney voices group does a great casting job. For those actors no longer with us, I think their replacements do a fantastic job of filling in.

This game has gotten more buzz online than many other recent live arcade game releases. It seems like you've really tapped into folks' childhood memories. What do you think it is about DuckTales that has been different in that sense? Why has this game become such a fondly remembered experience for so many people?

What I’ve gotten from talking to people is that everyone above a certain demographic fall into 3 categories. They love the NES game, they love the show, or they love both. Plus, the memories they/we have are all positive. Whether it’s Saturday morning cartoons—which unarguably were awesome in the late '80s/early '90s—or playing one of the best NES games ever made, there’s just no bad memories around DuckTales. I think the deeper question is why are people attracted to the adventures of a stingy, curmudgeonly, old duck? Disney magic!

 

Capcom has an extremely deep list of beloved classic games. Does the creation of DuckTales Remastered bode well for possible other remastered games? 

Anything is possible really, especially if DuckTales is well received by our fans. There is definitely an interest in doing more.

Do you have a personal favorite character from the DuckTales universe? If so, who is it and why?

It’s gotta be Gizmoduck. If only you could take Fenton out of it. I never really liked him but a roboduck was right up my alley … although I wasn’t a fan of the unicycle design. It always bugged me to guess where Fenton’s feet went when he became Gizmoduck.

Are there any plans to expand the game to iOS as well or will it be strictly PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U?

If we decide to do it, we’ll make a formal announcement about it.

And, finally, it can be in-game, behind the scenes, or whatever you like, but what's your favorite memory of working on DuckTales Remastered?

I think it’s when the music that plays during the first two cutscenes of the Transylvania level got implemented into the game. For some reason, that track really resonates with me. When I heard that, I was instantly taken back to watching cartoons in the '80s because it reminded me of drama music in G.I. Joe. That was a turning point for me when the game felt like DuckTales brought to life, instead of just an update to an NES game.

DuckTales Remastered is available now on PS3, Wii U, and PC while the Xbox 360 version releases on September 11.

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Brain Training Could Help Combat Hearing Loss, Study Suggests
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Contrary to what you might think, the hearing loss that accompanies getting older isn't entirely about your ears. Studies have found that as people get older, the parts of their brain that process speech slow down, and it becomes especially difficult to isolate one voice in a noisy environment. New research suggests there may be a way to help older people hear better: brain training.

The Verge reports that a new double-blind study published in Current Biology suggests that a video game could help older people improve their hearing ability. Though the study was too small to be conclusive, the results are notable in the wake of several large studies in the past few years that found that the brain-training games on apps like Luminosity don't improve cognitive skills in the real world. Most research on brain training games has found that while you might get better at the game, you probably won't be able to translate that skill to your real life.

In the current study, the researchers recruited 24 older adults, all of whom were long-term hearing-aid users, for eight weeks of video game training. The average age was 70. Musical training has been associated with stronger audio perception, so half of the participants were asked to play a game that asked them to identify subtle changes in tones—like you would hear in a piece of music—in order to piece together a puzzle, and the other half played a placebo game designed to test their memory. In the former, as the levels got more difficult, the background noise got louder. The researchers compare the task to a violinist tuning out the rest of the orchestra in order to listen to just their own instrument.

After eight weeks of playing their respective games around three-and-a-half hours a week, the group that played the placebo memory game didn't perform any better on a speech perception test that asked participants to identify sentences or words amid competing voices. But those who played the tone-changing puzzle game saw significant improvement in their ability to process speech in noise conditions close to what you'd hear in an average restaurant. The tone puzzle group were able to accurately identify 25 percent more words against loud background noise than before their training.

The training was more successful for some participants than others, and since this is only one small study, it's possible that as this kind of research progresses, researchers might find a more effective game design for this purpose. But the study shows that in specific instances, brain training games can benefit users. This kind of game can't eliminate the need for hearing aids, but it can help improve speech recognition in situations where hearing aids often fail (e.g., when there is more than one voice speaking). However, once the participants stopped playing the game for a few months, their gains disappeared, indicating that it would have to be a regular practice.

[h/t The Verge]

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This Game About Soup Highlights How Tricky Language Is
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Something Something Soup Something

Soup, defined by Merriam-Webster as "a liquid food especially with a meat, fish, or vegetable stock as a base and often containing pieces of solid food," is the ultimate simple comfort food. But if you look closer at the definition, you'll notice it's surprisingly vague. Is ramen soup? What about gumbo? Is a soy vanilla latte actually a type of three-bean soup? The subjectivity of language makes this simple food category a lot more complicated than it seems.

That’s the inspiration behind Something Something Soup Something, a new video game that has players label dishes as either soup or not soup. According to Waypoint, Italian philosopher, architect, and game designer Stefano Gualeni created the game after traveling the world asking people what constitutes soup. After interviewing candidates of 23 different nationalities, he concluded that the definition of soup "depends on the region, historical period, and the person with whom you're speaking."

Gualeni took this real-life confusion and applied it to a sci-fi setting. In Something Something Soup Something, you play as a low-wage extra-terrestrial worker in the year 2078 preparing meals for human clientele. Your job is to determine which dishes pass as "soup" and can be served to the hungry guests while avoiding any items that may end up poisoning them. Options might include "rocks with celery and batteries in a cup served with chopsticks" or a "foamy liquid with a candy cane and a cooked egg served in a bowl with a fork."

The five-minute game is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but Gualeni also hopes to get people thinking about real philosophical questions. According to its description page, the game is meant to reveal "that even a familiar, ordinary concept like 'soup' is vague, shifting, and impossible to define exhaustively."

You can try out Something Something Soup Something for free on your browser.

[h/t Waypoint]

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