Come On, Let's Go.
27Dec/111

Bonus Get

So, I bought the Humble Indie Bundle this year -- something I suggest everyone who likes video games do -- and I got into a game I never thought I would. Bit.Trip Runner is a game reminiscent of Rez and Vib Ribbon: an auto-moving platformer that "generates" music. It's a game that requires memorization and very strict reflexes, neither of which are my forte or even something I thought I would enjoy. But it somehow it all comes together. The controls are incredibly limited; you can jump, spring off platforms, slide and kick through obstacles. Each obstacle has only one way around it. Playing the game becomes something more akin to practicing a musical instrument than beating a stage in Super Mario Bros. The minimalist chiptune/synth tracks it creates are things of beauty. Here's a play-through of the stage I am currently stuck on:

7Dec/110

Super Ego Bros.

Back in the 90s, John Carmack -- a programmer knee-deep in some of the biggest computer video game titles, including Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake -- decided to prove that the PC could do video games (specifically, games using EGA) with smooth horizontal and vertical scrolling; an aspect they seriously lacked, compared to the console market. So he took his character Dangerous Dave and along with programmer Tom Hall and stayed up all night to make this:

Compare to the original:

The goal was to prove to Nintendo that the PC could do everything the Famicom/NES could and, therefore, the newly formed id Software should be allowed to port Super Mario Bros. 3 to the PC. Unfortunately, while they were impressed, Nintendo never had plans to release their properties on anything except their systems, so id never got the deal. However, the research and coding did give birth to Commander Keen -- a game fondly remembered by everyone who grew up on shareware discs. You can read more about it here.

9Nov/111

Auto Ran

I've talked about my delight with electromechanical games earlier, and while they have basically no advantages over their fully-digital counterparts, there's still a certain amount of charm to them. So there was a bit of delight when I stumbled across this. I also have a lot of love for Out Run's aesthetic which is admittedly a bit underrepresented in this adaptation.

In case you don't remember it from sucking up your quarters at the arcade from 1986 onward, Out Run looks like this:

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3Oct/110

A Purse Is Not Food

So if you're wondering where I disappeared to, I've been on vacation in Minnesota, visiting the Twin Cities and my girlfriend's home town, Duluth. Now, Bob Dylan came from Duluth, but since I know jack shit about Bob Dylan, the best I can do is Lorenzo Music, who voiced Garfield in the eponymous cartoon from the 1990s. So, here are a couple of selection from Fatal Farm's series Lasagna Cat. Which, incidentally, does not feature Lorenzo Music at all.

20Sep/110

She’s A Harbor Chick

I was watching Ghostbusters 2 the other day when I saw something delightful: the Statue of Liberty was controlled using a hacked NES Advantage:

...and, why not, here's a Boards of Canada's "Statue of Liberty" off a Few Old Tunes Vol. 2.

8Aug/113

Victoly

Meanwhile, at Google Reader, Josh shared a link with an image of the amazing stage design for French fencer Charlotte's stage in Samurai Shodown 2 for the NeoGeo. In high school, I may have played the Samurai Shodown games more than any other, save for possibly the Kings of Fighters. Basically, I was an enormous NeoGeo fanboy from the moment I realized that even my Pentium 2 could emulate the system at full-speed. I would leave my dial-up connection on while I was in school and between download managers and some hope, I would have a game ready to play by the time I got home. Then I would proceed to intermittently play it, read FAQs, and find websites that explained the surprisingly involved storylines that NeoGeo fighters usually had. I was, uh, pretty much this guy:

Like Charlotte's stage struck the author above, the music for Charlotte's stage in Samurai Shodown IV, titled "Continuation of the Woman from Far Away" (the game is Samurai Shodown, after all) always stood out for me . I can remember losing more than one match just because I was so caught up listening. It's not just downtempo, it's also full of silences, which is very rare for a video game, much less a 90s fighter.

28Jul/110

Riposte

The Evo fighting game tournament is upon us once again. They're all playing Street Fighter 4 now, but until that game debuted (and possibly still) Street Fighter 3 was a tournament mainstay. Growing up around arcades (SF3 was only recently emulated), I've played a fair amount of the game and one thing I could never get right was the parry -- a defensive attack performed by tapping the directional button the moment the attack hits. No matte how I tried, it never really worked out. So, that makes this moment from Evo 2004 all the more amazing:

14Jul/110

Big Finish, Part 4

So, we come to the conclusion of this experiment with the fatality which takes the most advantage of the Sega CD's hardware. I mean, it wouldn't be a Sega CD game without CGI full motion video, would it? The Cinekill involves the character being damned by the Dark Champion to a death exemplifying their biggest fear. At least that's what the Wiki says; I have a hard time believing that someone's biggest fear is being a victim of the Headcrusher from Kids in the Hall. I have to say that for a game from 1995, the CGI is pretty good, and the imaginative and very graphic content -- the celebration of which is the whole reason for this Week's posts -- more than makes up for the choppiness. All in all, I just wish that this was a better game, so that working to see all these fatalities would be fun, rather than an exercise in tedium allayed only by someone devoted enough to a forgotten 90s fighter to make these videos.

13Jul/110

Big Finish, Part 3

Third up on our Eternal Champions finishing move retrospective is the Vendetta. Finally, we're seeing the standard fatality: quick and character-based. Unfortunately, this also means they're a bit less creative than the two sets of stage fatalities. One of the highlights is '20s thug Larcen's move, which unlike the many of the sci-fi or supernatural theme of the rest, is just a vicious and repeated stabbing. Again, there's a gore warning here:

12Jul/110

Big Finish, Part 2

The second sort of finishing move available in Challenge from the Dark Side is the Sudden Death. These were a variant on the regular stage fatalities, and like the remaining others, exclusive to the Sega CD. Watch for what I am convinced is a reference to Dr. Manhattan's origin story in Watchmen. Again, these are some delightfully graphic animations, so if you're the sensitive type, put the sandwich down before hitting play:

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