Put on Your Corbyn Face: a game you win by displaying empathy

Games for the Many sends us Put on Your Corbyn Face, "A web game where you are challenged to match the emotions of a photo Jeremy Corbyn. Possibly the first web game you play with empathy and emotion." Read the rest

Arc Symphony is a Playstation game that never existed. Or did it?

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 commissioned designed jewel cases, complete with glossy booklet (no disk, of course), in perfect imitiation of a PSX game that never existed.

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…”

Previously: Nomen Ludi, the game you can't quite remember. Read the rest

Forthcoming game evokes style of legendary artist Moebius

Shedworks is making a video game and I don't care what it's about or whether it's "good" because it looks like Jean "Moebius" Giraud drew every frame of the teaser animations, and I am sold. Emerging from a shed in North London, the unnamed project is by Gregorios Kythreotis and Daniel Fineberg.

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New games for old consoles

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.

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.”

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Excellent vintage portable TV turned into retro gaming system

FinnAndersen spotted this wonderful vintage portable TV in a dumpster. He gutted most of it and outfitted the shell with a new screen and Raspberry Pi 3 to run RetroPie. Demo video below.

"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!

"I turned an old portable TV into a dedicated retro gaming system!" (Imgur)

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Tempest, a brutal island-survival roguelite

Tempest is a Pico-8 browser game by impbox that dumps you on an uninhabited island. Not a nice desert island, no, but an unpleasant one much closer to the arctic circle. Gather wood, fruit and fresh water (use the Z key) and see if you can make shelter before the cold night sets in and kills you. Key tip: you have to manually drink and eat, by opening menus with the X key and hitting the relevant options. Read the rest

Make crazy 3D houses with Brick Block

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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Chess with wireless, glowing nixie tubes

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

Random ASCII spaceship generator

Admiral, your fleet awaits! I don't fancy your chance against the Unicode Menace, but do what you can.

The game/generator is called Vortex, but apart from this Reddit thread where creator Huw Millward linked to the video, it doesn't seem to have a homepage. He's got other similar projects, too: I like the look of Feud, a seriously old-school text-based sim set in 13th-century England. Read the rest

Path of the Rabbit, a free game where you lead a rabbit to water

Path of the Rabbit is another simple, addictive, beautifully-pixelled game from Daniel Linssen. Lay down the land for your lapine friend to leap across: it'll follow whatever line leads from the spot it stands.

The trick is to arrange tiles to allow multiple leaps and to avoid the edge, from which the rabbit can't come back from, while keeping it regularly watered and occasionally beating up foxes to level up. It's surprisingly tough going, but I kept going back! Read the rest

The best Snooker break of all time was even faster than its official time

The greatest break in snooker history is Ronnie O'Sullivan's legendary 147 at the 1997 World Championship. He not only sank every ball with unmatched grace and force, but did so in a record-breaking 5:20s, some two minutes faster than the previous record. But Deadspin's Ben Tippett proves it was executed even faster than the books show.

The famous 147 break had everything: The white ball obeyed O’Sullivan’s every command, every shot looked easy because he made it so through his honeyed cueing and Juno-level precision positional play, the break was fast—the fastest maximum break ever, by a long way—and yet he looked like he had oodles of time. O’Sullivan said at the time that he knew a maximum was on after the second red, and the result never looked in doubt. O’Sullivan moved around the table with grace and ridiculous ease, like a concert pianist preparing breakfast in his kitchen.

The 5:20 time was human error, based on the BBC's primitive chess-clock technology from the time. The Guinness Book of Records' bizarre retcon to make it work -- the next player's break starts when the previous player's white ball last touches a cushion -- is so weak it requires an event that doesn't even happen on many shots.

So Tippett offers two options as to when a player's shot (and therefore any resulting break) starts, yielding two possible times of O'Sullivan's still-unbeaten break:

1. 5m 06s : When the player takes his shot. 2. 5m 15s : When the previous player's shot comes to rest. Read the rest

Get all three BioShock titles for $30

I don't play a lot of games, but my friend Craig loaned me his BioShock discs for Mac couple of years ago and I enjoyed it. The super creepy dystopian universe is a critique of Ayn Rand's simplistic political and economic ideas based on the concept of "rational self-interest." Amazon has a sale on all three BioShock games in the series for the Xbox One and PS4 for $30. If you don't already have this game, this is a good time to get it. Read the rest

Translator upset after unintended KKK reference removed from English version of Japanese game

Making English versions of foreign-language games is a complex process requiring cultural sensitivity and originality. In contrast to literary translation, it involves audio, visual arts, and careful technical edits as well as the words. When a localizer working on Japanese title Akiba Beat was displeased by one edit, he cried foul and demanded to be removed from the project's credits.

The "egregious change," as Tom Lipschultz called it...

...had to do with a parody of the Japanese light switch company NKK Switches. A sign in the original Japanese version of the game read “KKK witches,” a play on the phrase. He wrote on XSEED’s forum, “I personally felt ‘KKK witches’ was pretty funny for its shock value, but when I mentioned it to my coworkers, they... were not as amused.” ... he says his priority is retaining as much of Akiba’s Beat’s original meaning as possible.

When informed what "KKK" means to Americans, though, the Japanese creators were mortified and “immediately responded that they had no idea the sign could be taken that way in English,” and asked that it not be included in the English release. Lipschultz, however, doesn't think it's right to make the change.

Lipschultz knows that the removal of “KKK witches” from Akiba’s Beat is “insignificant,” and truly, one might wonder whether this is really the place to take such a stand. But, he says, his dramatic gesture was inspired by the well-trod Evelyn Beatrice Hall quote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Lipschultz thinks it's censorship, in other words, and is "taking a stand." But maybe, just maybe, the game's original creators had never meant for racial-themed shitposting to be in their game. Read the rest

Nintendo programmer coded Game Boy classic without using a keyboard

Nintendo programmer Masahiro Sakura coded the Game Boy classic Kirby's Dream Land on a cartridge-based Famicom console and Disk System that lacked a hardware keyboard. According to a recent presentation given by Sakura, "values had to be input using a trackball and an on-screen keyboard."

Sakura, who was 20-years-old at the time, said he just thought that was "the way it was done."

From Game Watch's report in Japanese, translated by Source Gaming:

At the time, the development tool that HAL Laboratory was using was the Twin Famicom, a console that combined the Famicom and the Famicom Disk System. A trackball made specifically for the Twin Famicom was used with the machine, which read and wrote data to a floppy disk and uploaded data to the floppy disks [during development].

Essentially, they were using a Famicom to make Famicom games. Sakurai told the crowd, “It’s like using a lunchbox to make lunch”. However, because of that, they were able to create a functional test product before the project plan was even completed.

(via Ars Technica) Read the rest

Kickstarting a new edition of Cheapass Games's classic "Button Men"

Carol from Cheapass Games writes, "In our continuing quest to bring back the very best classic Cheapass Games, we're creating a new boxed set of Button Men, our strategy dice combat game. This time around, the characters will appear on cards, rather than pin-back buttons, but since they're all 1950s era gangsters, the 'button men' name still works! The new format lets us provide 48 characters - and 30 high-quality polyhedral dice - in one affordable package. We'll also make the old-style pin-back buttons available as game accessories. Button Men won two Origins awards back when it was originally published in 1999, and it's one of our favorites." Read the rest

Mozak: a game that crowdsources the detailed mapping of brain-cells

Mozak is a game where you score points for participating in the mass-scale, crowdsourced mapping of dendrites in scanned brains of humans, rodents, and other organisms. Read the rest

Super Mario 8-Bit Cupcake Arrangement Expectations vs. Reality

Nope. This Super Mario children's birthday party cupcake arrangement did not turn out as planned.

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