The Lost Arcade, a documentary about the encroachment of gentrficiation upon the last real video arcade in Manhattan, is now available to watch online.
Directed by Kurt P. Vincent, the story is as much about the Chinatown Fair's community as the games, celebrating the final years of a pop culture phenomenon that moved into our homes so slowly we never realized what we were losing.
"I wanted to create a film that would capture the spirit that hit me the first time I walked through those doors," writes Vincent. "There was a melting pot of a community that congregated there, where all walks of life came together and shared one common interest: video games. It was a microcosm of what New York was all about. Not the overpriced New York we've come to accept, but what this city originally stood for and still does when you look deep enough."
The Lost Arcade sheds a behind-the-scenes light into the demise of arcade culture, as it coincided with the rise of home console and online gaming, and showcases the dichotomy of how gamers connected then vs. now. But more importantly, it highlights the diversity and camaraderie among the competitive gamer community that arcades like Chinatown Fair were so uniquely able to foster.
Reason Magazine's C.J. Ciaramella filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI for the Bureau's file on TSR, the company that E Gary Gygax founded when he created Dungeons and Dragons (now a division of Hasbro). Read the rest
The majority of players are liberals. If they can learn to trust each other, they have enough votes to control the table and win the game. But some players are fascists. They will say whatever it takes to get elected, enact their agenda, and blame others for the fallout. The liberals must work together to discover the truth before the fascists install their cold-blooded leader and win the game.
They just introduced new cards "featuring Donald Trump and prominent members of his administration," also drawn by Schubert.
Brett Gaylor writes, "As part of the Mozilla Privacy Arcade project in this year’s Global Sprint, Mozilla is inviting activists, artists, designers, educators, gamers, storytellers, and technologists of all backgrounds to invent new privacy-themed adventures for the role playing game Cryptomancer." Read the rest
"Role-players, boardgamers, writers, coders, artists, graphic designers, teachers, house-cleaners, lucid dreamers, gym-rats, distance runners, commuters" can enjoy over 100 ambient atmospheric loops with names like "Orbital Promenade," "Lunar Outpost," "Testing Chamber" and so on. Read the rest
Arc Symphony is a text-only game about being a fan of an elaborate Japanese Playstation RPG in the 1990s. Designed to evoke an old-timey USENET group and the ancient DOS PC used to connect to it, it's a perfect and mysterious capturing of a long-gone moment. To promote it, the creators that never existed. designed jewel cases, complete with glossy booklet (no disk, of course), in perfect imitiation of a PSX game
At shows, people spot the clever mockup and say, hey, I remember that game.
People tell them they remember playing it.
People insist they remember. There are fansites.
Arc Symphony works because of Park and Evan’s marketing of it—it becomes easier to pretend to be a fan of the game when they’ve managed to slip a little nostalgia for it into your drink. Both Park and Evans were very surprised by the success of their campaign, and how quickly it got away from them.
“It’s actually really unsettling when it stops just being indie game devs having fun with each other,” Park said, “and starts being, well, rewriting cultural memory…”
Homebrew has long been a highlight of the game-development scene, but publishing new carts for old consoles is going mainstream. The Verge's Andrew Webster writes that several such titles are soon to be released, mostly for classic Nintendo boxes.
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For some, it’s a hobby, a fun way to experiment with programming and design techniques. For others, it’s a way to pay homage to game experiences that have long gone out of fashion. Sometimes it’s a little of both. In 2010 Xbox co-founder Ed Fries created a stripped-down version of Halo designed for the Atari 2600, while Paul Koller has made a name porting modern indie games to the Commodore 64. Most of these games are released for free, and playable through an emulator on a PC.
For Long, the decision to not only create a retro homebrew game, but release it on a cartridge, was made because he wanted to embrace the limitations of a device like the NES. “The goal was to craft a tightly controlled experience,” he explains. While Star Versus is a decidedly 8-bit game, as a competitive shooter it also pulls from modern game design techniques. Long was also interested in restricting himself to the NES controller, something that wouldn’t be possible if people played the game through a PC emulator. “There were obvious downsides to only being on cartridge, such as limited exposure and difficulty in demoing,” he says. “But I’m happy with the choice I made, at least for this game.”
"It can emulate everything up to and including N64/PS1/Dreamcast, with a built-in wireless XBOX controller receiver for multiplayer parties!, he writes. "It also has a digital tuner inside to watch actual television, using the original knob for channel switching."
I'd love to do this to a JVC Videosphere!
Oskar Stalberg (previously) made Brick Block, a fun online 3D toy that lets you design surreal blocky houses. You can spin the scene to any degree and have it generate random houses. It's like the level editor for a Victorian-themed version of the classic cyberpunk game Syndicate.
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Lasermad's Nixie Chessboards take 8-10 weeks to hand build, during which time each of the chess pieces is painstakingly built around a vintage nixie tube scavenged from the world's dwindling supply, and the board is prepared with the wireless induction coils that power the pieces when they're set on the board, lighting them up. (via Red Ferret) Read the rest