William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer is far from forgotten; the times seem almost uncannily like an interregnum between the world he wrote in and the world he wrote. But the 1988 video game adaptation is another matter. [via]
The game’s developers were challenged with portraying this futuristic nonspace while still creating an accessible and interesting game, and all with computers that were barely a step up from a calculator and a potent imagination. The end result is surreal, abstract, and lonely. It’s a virtual world that’s simultaneously leagues beyond our internet, yet stunted and impractical, a world where you can bank online before doing battle with an artificial intelligence yet won’t let you run a simple search query and forces you to “physically” move between one virtual location and the next. It’s cyberspace as envisioned by a world that didn’t yet have the computing power to experience it for real, a virtual 2058 that would look archaic before the turn of the millennium.
Hill gets it, especially how the game seeks to understand cyberspace as a city. But I think he's wrong in suggesting that contemporary hardware limitations ("a step up from a calculator") were the game's undoing. If anything, I feel that the cusp of the 16-bit era was perfect for implementing Neuromancer as a solipsistic, non-networked adventure game. Indeed, much of the history of the 16-bit era can be read as increasingly successful efforts to implement the vision of Neuromancer as a narrative experience rather than a labyrinthine multidimensional bulletin board.
Code Parade (also on itch.io) is developing a “hyperbolic” 3D game engine (download) where a line is not necessarily the shortest path between two places. I was impressed by the tunnels that are longer inside than outside, but the three-roomed house blew my mind. Can’t wait for the unsettling haunted-house games to come. See if […]
I’m looking forward to playing Hideous Abomination [Kickstarter], because it combines two of my favorite things: games where you build something piece by piece out of cards or tiles, and grotesque cartoon creatures that defy the imagination. Hideous Abomination is a tile-laying game for 2-5 people, aged 12+ (but with simplified rules for younger players), […]
Yesterday I posted about Finger on the App, a game in which players must keep their finger on their smartphone screen (and occasionally move it to a new spot indicated by the app, to prevent cheating). The last person to keep their finger on the app wins a prize of up to $25,000. Over 48 […]
Back in the 50s and 60s, it was no big deal in most areas to make a call to your local liquor store and have beer, wine and spirits delivered right to your house with little to no restriction. However, that ease and simplicity certainly isn’t in place today. Alcohol delivery laws in 2020 are […]
Unless you’re a regular cannabis user, you might be surprised to learn that the plant itself is basically just that — a plant. It’s not until you put cannabis under high heat that the process of decarboxylation breaks down that raw form into the psychoactive compounds that can actually benefit the body. This unlocking process […]
With our smartphones serving as the vital tether that links us to the rest of our lives, it’s no wonder how low batteries and power emergencies can occasionally feel like a life-and-death situation. I mean, it’s usually not, of course…but darned if it doesn’t feel that way when your indicator is showing only 5 percent […]