Archive for November, 2010

Daily Linksplosion: Monday, November 29, 2010

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Bizarre game mash-up: a K.C.’s Krazy Chase retrospective

Not long ago, I sat down with Pac-Man CE DX, the new sequel to 2007’s stellar Pac-Man: Championship Edition for Xbox Live Arcade.

Like its predecessor, DX is a Pac-Man style maze gobbler with a shifting layout and a strict time limit, forcing you to go for the highest possible score before time runs out. DX adds in a “ghost train,” wherein sleeping ghosts around the maze wake up and begin chasing Pac-Man. Provided you don’t get yourself trapped—think Snake—you can use the train to rack up huge scores, grabbing a power pellet and chowing down on dozens of ghosts in one fell swoop.

I’d had a nagging feeling that this reminded me of another game, but I couldn’t pinpoint what. It wasn’t until my riveting game of Centipede at Ann Arbor’s Pinball Pete’s that my memory jogged: DX smacks of the Magnavox Odyssey2 game, K.C.’s Krazy Chase! That game was a curious mash-up of Centipede and Pac-Man, deliberately designed to prevent a lawsuit from Atari—a fate that had befallen the game’s antecedent, K.C. Munchkin.

K.C. Munchkin, released in 1981, was a huge hit for the Odyssey2, at least for its brief availability on the market. Beating the 2600’s notorious Pac-Man port to home consoles by nearly a year, Phillips, the parent company of Magnavox, found themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit by Atari, who argued that the maze game was too similar to their own, and that Atari had the sole rights to Pac-Man on home computer. To be sure, K.C. Munchkin had its differences—multiple mazes, a level editor long before editors were common (it used the Odyssey2’s attached keyboard), and dots that roamed the maze itself—but ultimately it was a game in which an impish munching character wandered a maze, eating dots and avoiding monsters. As if driving the point home, with a wink and a nudge, that K.C. really was Pac-Man in disguise, the game even had power pellets that would allow the player to hunt the three monsters for a limited amount of time. Of course Atari won the suit, and K.C. Munchkin was pulled from shelves. Still, the game’s success had blown the door wide open for a sequel.

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Daily Linksplosion: Monday, November 15, 2010

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Daily Linksplosion: Saturday, November 13, 2010

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Daily Linksplosion: Friday, November 12, 2010

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Embracing your inner child

I keep typing out my thoughts on this commercial, and then I keep deleting them. Enjoy?

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Daily Linksplosion: Tuesday, November 09, 2010

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Before they were stars

How They Died by Aled Lewis

Aled Lewis (earlier, twice) with his latest, “How They Died.”

Update: Recreated in Minecraft.

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Daily Linksplosion: Monday, November 08, 2010

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(The Bizarre Adventures of) Woodruff and the Schnibble (of Azimuth), 1995

Woodruff and the Schnibble—the box art specifies The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble, but the title screen touts Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth—was lovingly localized and published in 1995 as YASA.

Oh, I like that acronym! I just made it up: Yet Another Sierra Adventure. I can’t be the first person to think of YASA, but let’s keep using it.

Woodruff looks like a Gobliiins game because—unofficially, anyway—it really is a Gobliiins game. Like the rest of the Gobliiins series, Woodruff was designed by the mad geniuses at French developer Coktel Vision, where artist Pierre Gilhodes first developed the series and its distinctive style.

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Daily Linksplosion: Saturday, November 06, 2010

paperboy
Kotaku – ‘Shop Contest: Politics As Usual

Because my sense of humor skews "innocently bizarre" and at least one ‘shop winner was too sick for my taste, #10 was my favorite. I know a girl who wears a baseball cap sideways a lot, and I really really like her, OK, but when she’s not looking I turn to D and whisper, "Paperboy calls it quits!"


Geek-Art.net – Geek Art Loves Junkboy’s Pixel Demakes

I’m just writing in to say how hard I would play Super Smash Bros and Soul Calibur IV on SNES, thanks. (via vikingfunk.tumblr.com)

terrible fan art
I’m not the girl you hoped I’d be – Mario stretched himself across space and time

I am so in love with my own Mario-Sonic slash fanfic I don’t know what to do with myself. Inspiration via fuckyeahterribleart.tumblr.com.

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1995’s notable un-games: ‘Cosmology of Kyoto,’ ‘I Have No Mouth…’ and ‘Chop Suey’

I was looking something up online when I fell upon these really excellent gameplay videos by Bruno de Figueiredo (AKA “dieubussy,” AKA the Eastern Mind guy).

And I was really gladdened to see the videos because, not only do they illustrate PC games that are harder to obtain and get running, but these games are also absolutely essential non-games. All three titles are contemplative by anyone’s standards, but they feel especially slow now.

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KodyKoala’s “Bowser Claus”

Did you know Macy’s department store is already decorated? It is.

So it’s no surprise that custom toy artist Donald Kennedy of KodyKoala (see also, also, and also) is gearing up for the holiday season!

I admit, I like the name Bowser Claus, but I would have been more likely to go with “Koopa Kringle.”

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Jude Buffum slices, dices, quarters, and vivisects your favorite game characters

Jude Buffum is great. His meticulous, deliberate paintings, each one an entire mosaic of pixels, are much too charming to come off as labored. His work for the ongoing cult series curated by Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles—including Crazy 4 Cult, the 3G show, Under the Influence, and Idiot Box, to name a handful—reappropriates pop culture, often recasting familiar faces, places, and subplots as video game battles.

And now for something a little different:

koopasteak

“For the upcoming show Pixel Pushers, sponsored by Scion and curated by Giant Robot,” Buffum writes, “I decided to explore the carnivorous side of the world of video games.” And sure enough, each of Buffum’s 6 macabre works is styled after the beef chart.

Here, Mario’s nemesis Koopa is drawn and divvied into mouthwatering steaks, while Zelda’s Ganon, with his porcine snout, can be turned into bacon, sausage, and ham. The Final Fantasy chocobo is hacked into like a chicken, as is Mario’s stalwart companion Yoshi—he can lay eggs, after all. But best of all, Bloopers and Cheep Cheep fish (they’re the two adversaries from Super Mario Bros’ obnoxious underwater levels) finally get a chilling comeuppance, served with a side of wasabi. So gruesome!

Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot curated the show, which runs from November 13 through December 11 at Scion Installation Gallery LA. The opening reception will be held on the evening of November 13, 7:00-10:00 PST.

Pixel Pushers: An Exploration of 8-Bit Digital Media
November 13 – December 11, 2010
Scion Installation Gallery
3521 Helms Avenue, Culver City 90232
(310) 815-8840

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Daily Linksplosion: Thursday, November 04, 2010

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