Archive for May, 2009

Daily Linksplosion: Saturday, May 30, 2009

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Cactus and VilleK team up for ‘Air Pirates’

Cactus (who, together with Ville Krumlinde, comprises Lo-Fi Minds) just took to his Twitter account with a trailer for Air Pirates, Lo-Fi’s latest collaboration.

It looks heart-palpitatingly awesome:

Air Pirates will debut next month at e4.com.

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Forget Doom! ‘Space Ace’ for iPhone

Remember Dragon’s Lair? With Dirk the Daring starring as the blundering hero, tasked with rescuing the princess? Kind of tedious?

Within the year following its release, Don Bluth Studios loosed yet another multiple-choice, feature-film-quality adventure into arcades. Called Space Ace, the titular hero—Ace, I mean—was sort of an intergalactic refitting of his medieval forbearer.

And while the thought of conducting Ace through a sequence of quicktime events doesn’t exactly thrill me, the idea of cramming an entire laserdisc game onto the iPhone absolutely does.

Touch Arcade, with undeniably impressive gameplay footage, below:

Maybe I shouldn’t be so dumbstruck by this; hell, Space Ace was gorgeous to begin with. But on the iPhone? Holy cow.

I think I like the idea of this game—a onetime feat of technology—being marvelous and novel all over again. I guess the medium really is the message.

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Daily Linksplosion: “Things I learned from Twitter” edition

The real problem with Twitter? It’s hard to know when to disconnect.

I was sitting in the movie theater, wearing my polarized 3D glasses and waiting for Up to begin. As the lights were dimming, I pulled out my cell phone. I’ll just tap my way into Tweetie, I decided, and take a quick peek at the haps before diligently turning my little machine off.

In the ensuing thirty seconds, I learned:

  • Holy god, 61FPS is leaving us: 61 Frames Per Second—which is, for a variety of reasons and writers, one of my favorite blogs—is shuttering. And so soon after its extremely tasty reboot! The blog’s parent and host, nerve.com, is relaunching itself (again!) as a magazine: I can dig that. Nerve was the Internet’s edgy, geeky, sexy kick-in-the-pants in the 1990s (back when I shouldn’t have been visiting nerve.com but did anyway, titter, titter). Apparently Nerve is refocusing on what it does best—sex—so I can only nod and shrug with reluctant understanding. Perhaps nerve.com will consider covering sex in videogames? I’d buy that from the newsstand! (But only if I am wearing sunglasses or a hat.) Best of luck to 61FPS’s talented writers, each of whom is a gem in his and her own right.
  • Holy god, EGM is back in business: It’s a strange and risky time to rekindle a property and hop back into print, but along with Nerve the magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly is staging its triumphant return. Little could anyone have guessed, EGM founder Steve Harris zoomed in to reclaim his once-and-future publishing rights from Ziff Davis (Harris sold EGM to Ziff in 1996). Update: Some informed musings from James Mielke and Sam Kennedy. What could the future have in store?
  • It’s a shoot-em-up for Petri Purho! In less bittersweet news, Petri Purho confirms to Bitmob that, yes, his game will be a shmup. More speculation from readers in Bitmob’s comments. I can’t wait!

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Daily Linksplosion: Thursday, May 28, 2009

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Purho’s latest still shrouded in mysteriousness

Two days ago, and without any further explanation, Crayon Physics creator Petri Purho tweet-leaked a screen from his newest project.

Of the screenshot, Offworld’s eagle-eyed proprietor Brandon Boyer noted, ”[Purho’s] ‘creatures’ are all being procedurally generated from a common set of facial and bodily elements.”

As if in confirmation, Petri writes,
otherpetritweet

creaturetest

...followed by…

nextcreaturetest

Now to find out what it is!

Update: Curious, writer Demian Linn did the reasonable thing and emailed Petri with questions about the work-in-progress. Petri didn’t relinquish much, but he did say the game was “probably going to be a SHMUP.”

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Get ready for summer sequel: revisiting ‘Fool’s Errand’

Perhaps you are wondering why Infinite Lives is being updated with alarming consistency! It is because I have the flu and a fever, and I am in bed and bored.

But besides trolling the Internet for items of interest, and coughing, I’ve also been looking around for abandonware DOS games to install.

My current squeeze? 1987’s The Fool’s Errand.

foolserrand

Late last week, GameLife published David Kushner’s interview with Cliff Johnson, the designer behind Fool’s Errand. Its sequel, The Fool and His Money, is slated for release this summer. (If you absolutely can’t wait, you can play the demo now.)

The 1987 puzzle game seemingly builds itself around the Tarot—which itself has an inbuilt sequence and circular narrative—beginning with the Major Arcana and then moving toward made-up arcana like ‘the Humbug’ and ‘the Not-A-Merchant’.

Johnson has made Fool’s Errand and all its extras available as free downloads. While he himself prefers the Windows and Macintosh versions of the game, they might require a little finagling. Intel MacBook users like me might do well to install the much uglier, 16-color DOS version instead:

DOS version

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Are we not men? Scott C’s ‘Devo Invaders’

devoinvaders

More charming watercolors from Scott C. (of Double Fine!). I love how Mark Mothersbaugh gets to carry the whip!

If you’re in the LA area, you can catch “Quiet Storm,” a group exhibition of which Mr. Campbell is a part.

Quiet Storm
May 26-June 18
Gallery 1988 Los Angeles
7020 Melrose Avenue

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Christian Bale’s Pac-Man cereal ad

8-year old Christian Bale dances his little heart out in this jazzy number for Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man cereal. Nine years later, of course, the young hoofer would star in Newsies.

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What his video games say about him

What his video games say about him

Patrick Stump, hat-wielding frontman of Fall Out Boy, gets behind the controls to show us what a guy’s video game collection says about him…

“Boys and video games go together like milk and cookies—it’s an inevitable combination. I’m not an extreme gamer now, but I definitely had my day when I was younger. The Mega Man series, Kid Icarus, The Legend of Zelda—I didn’t date for at least a year while those titles were out.”

I’ve dutifully stolen—er, transcribed—the full text of the ‘article’, so hit the jump if you, uh, want to know more about your man’s personality.

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Hello, Homebrew: Thrust

This is the first in a series of articles about homebrew games. Quite simply, outside of the fanbase for a particular system, a number of these go clear under the radar. It’s a terrible shame, given that a lot of these homebrews end up being better than commercial releases. As such, I’m going to highlight some of my particular favorites for a variety of systems!

I had written previously on the subject of gravity in Spacewar, one of the earliest computer games ever made. The concept of gravity’s effect on games has extended beyond that, but only a few noteworthy games have ever stood out. One in particular, a BBC Acorn game (later ported, famously, to the Commodore 64, among others) entitled Thrust, became something of a cult classic.

Thrust was something of an evolution from Atari’s arcade game, Gravitar. In that game, you were flying from planet to planet, destroying guns and grabbing fuel before taking off to the next one. Ever present was the gravity each planet would ensnare you in, forcing you to make your moves carefully, lest you fall too far and crash.

Thrust took this a step further—instead of flying from planet to planet, now you were warping onto a planet, battling turrets and the forces of physics as you made your way deep into planetary chasms to grab a fuel cell. Once you had latched onto it with your tractor beam, you had to carefully maneuver your way back out, all the while fighting with the weight and inertia of your cargo.

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Homosexual game characters past, present, and future

birdo wtf

Apparently catalyzed by the announcement of GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony, an Aussie gaming site has published this, “A History of Homosexuality in Gaming.”

While it isn’t the first time I’ve seen a piece like this—and it is by no means a complete catalogue of gay, lesbian, and transgendered video game characters—the article calls attention to myriad canonical amendments, reversals, and omissions, often made for the sake of North American localization. That’s an important thing to note, and even more importantly, that seems to be changing.

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Daily Linksplosion: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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Daily Linksplosion: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

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‘Secret Codes’ by Ray Fenwick

secretcodes

I have long held that cheat codes are magical, so I was really struck by this little doodle.

The one problem with scoping art out on Tumblr is, it’s often really hard to back-navigate to its source. So: I have no idea who the illustrator is. Does this sketch ring a bell with anyone?

Update: Ah! The artist’s name is Ray Fenwick. His Hall of Best Knowledge was published last year by Fantagraphics; later this year, you can pick up “Fuck You and Your Blog,” a pretty little journal suitable for gift-giving.

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