As anyone that's been kicking around here for the past few years knows, I love the Nintendo Switch—not so much for its new games, although I do dig a number of those too. For me, the Switch is the ultimate port machine. As I do the majority of my work on a slowly dying early 2015 13" MacBook Pro Retina laptop, it's reasonable to say that I haven't been set up to play the majority of PC, PS4 and Xbox titles that have come down the pike, these past five years. Happily, My Switch is allowing me to catch up. I'm in the middle of The Witcher III right now. I've been playing a bit of the Metro series (which is great in handheld mode) on and off and, Good lord: Mario Kart. Yes, it's a Nintendo original, but I never had a pal who owned a Nintendo U to play it with. Now's my chance.
Over the past week, I've heard some fabulous news about a number of ports that I'll be thrilled to play when I'm not busy with work check this out:
The Outer Worlds, which is essentially Fallout: New Vegas in space, will be released for the Switch in June
XCOM 2, one of the best strategy games I've ever had the chance to play and not finish, will be released for the Switch on May 29th
The Borderlands Legendary Collection, which includes Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Seque, comes out on the same day
BioShock Remastered, BioShock 2 Remastered, and BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition are all dropping at the end of May as well
There's no good time to be quarantined or sheltering in place (although we're currently doing so for a very good reason). Read the rest
I have been loving Shieldwall, a strategy game where you and your Roman legion attempt to kick the crap out of other Roman legions!
This game reminds me of a 3D Starcraft, with (thus far) a lot less complexity. You start with one base and attempt to take others from other CG teams!
More bases result in more resources for you to spend, so get to work!
I bought it on Steam for less than $10.
Shieldwall on Steam Read the rest
This cat sure appears to be having a fun time. Read the rest
Matt Ruff is one of science fiction and fantasy's most consistently brilliant and innovative authors, whose recent work includes The Mirage
(an incredible alternate history in which the Global War on Terror is kicked off when Christian crusaders from the blighted, tribal USA fly a plane into the United States of Arabia's Twin Towers in Dubai, giving the hawkish CIA chief Osama bin Laden the chance to launch the all-out war he's been champing for), and Lovecraft Country
(an anti-racist reimagining of Cthulhu set in Jim Crow America where the real horror is white supremacy -- now being adapted for TV by Jordan Peele
). In his new novel, 88 Names
, Ruff adds to the canon of MMORPG heist novels (Charlie Stross's Rule 34
, Neal Stephenson's Reamde
, and my For the Win
, to name three) with a unique take that he dubbed "Snow Crash meets The King and I."
The death toll in Italy's coronavirus outbreak today passed 1,000.
Schools throughout Italy are completely shut down, which is reportedly driving a surge in internet traffic as bored kids forced to stay indoors turn to online games. Read the rest
Black Mesa is a reimagining of the original Half-Life game, in development for years and published by Valve itself on Steam. For fans of the series, the trailer above offers plenty of chills; it's not simply a remake in Source engine form, but an licensed-but-unofficial reboot with all the best bits and new material besides. Read the rest
This prototype Sony PlayStation, the result of a failed Sony and Nintendo collaboration in the early 1990s, sold Friday for $360,000 in a live online auction. Background here. While Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was thought to have made the winning bid, the winner was actually Greg McLemore who made a fortune in the first dotcom gold rush as founder of Pets.com and Toys.com. McLemore is a an avid videogame collector and historian who runs the virtual International Arcade Museum. From Forbes:
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According to a profile in Robb Report, money from those early dot-com ventures helped (McLemore) start a 20-year journey collecting video game memorabilia, from strength-testing machines of the 1880s, to prototypes of coin-operated mechanical horse rides in the 1920s, to the first commercially sold arcade game Computer Space from 1971...
I'm looking to not have this machine just buried in a closet somewhere," McLemore told Forbes, saying he wants to take his collection—which he estimates includes over 800 coin-operated machines and countless other smaller games, trade magazines and original art—and build out a permanent museum.
Working his way toward that prospect, he's beginning to develop exhibitions with outside partners to display the items, including an upcoming run with the University of Southern California Pacific Asia Museum in spring and summer 2021 illustrating Asian influence on the video game industry; the Nintendo PlayStation will be included.
The Bauhutte gamer bed, as pictured, includes mattress, headboard with storage, desk, keyboard stand, snack cart (or "energy wagon") and black bedsheets with red piping. [via Rock Paper Shotgun]
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Conceived in Japan by gaming desk maker Bauhutte, this cursed concoction is actually a Power Rangers-style amalgamation of all their gaming furniture combined. Only instead of transforming into a mighty-morphin’ humanity-saving mech suit, it’s a mighty-morphin’ gaming prison designed to bombard us with more #content than we could ever possibly consume. The only thing it’s missing is a built-in bog hole. Dystopian dread aside, thanks to the ever reliable services of Google Translate, Bauhutte’s description of their gaming bed does, at least, make for some entertaining reading.
Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who created the famous ‘Konami Code,’ has died.
He was 79. Read the rest
It's downright majestic is what it is. Read the rest
Sega Arcade: Pop-Up History [Read Only Memory] is a beautifully-illustrated hardcover book about six classic Sega "body sensation" arcade cabinets – Hang-On, Space Harrier, Out Run, After Burner, Thunder Blade and Power Drift – complete with pop-up cardboard models.
Accompanying this 3D showcase is a written history from Guardian games writer and best-selling novelist, Keith Stuart, punctuated by specially restored production artwork and beautifully reproduced in-game screens. The book features contributions from arcade game innovator Yu Suzuki, who offers first-hand insight into the development of these groundbreaking games and the birth of the Taiken cabinet phenomenon.
The book's £35 and shipping now.
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The broken ASCII-art "FUCK EPIC GAMES STORE" wasn't placed intentionally by Steam to show up as the store's description in Google search results, but there it is, all the same. Google and its algorithmic gods picked the phrase, a comment left by a user of the site, for reasons known only to itself. [Rock Paper Shotgun]
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Love Hultén, who makes retrofuturistic game consoles, built this thing called an EvoBoxx, which lets you play mathematician John Horton Conway's Game of Life, a cellular automaton he devised in 1970. "The game is a zero-player game," writes Hultén, "meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, requiring no further input. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves, or, for advanced players, by creating patterns with particular properties."
If you don't have an EvoBoxx, you can play The Game of Life here.
Image: Love Hultén Read the rest
This is a really cool homebuilt arcade game project. Read the rest
What you see before you here is frenetic, graphics-heavy 1985 arcade game Space Harrier as a textmode app. Though represented as chunky extended-ASCII characters, the underlying game is startlingly authentic, with bosses, pylons, tunnel staages and music all running at the Sega classic's freakishly fast clip.
It's not a clever terminal project floating up on Hacker News: it's actually the conversion for the MZ-700, a 1982 Japanese 8-bit, apparently created by Kazuhiro Furuhata in 1988. But this makes me think that Cannonball, the modern implementation of Sega's mid-80s sprite scaling game engine, needs a textmode feature.
(If you liked this, check the same game out on the Sharp X1, a more powerful Japanese 1980s machine: a truly bizarre mix of textmode and sprites, X1 Space Harrier is an arcade-accurate yet glitchy mess pushed as fast as a z80 can muster.) Read the rest
In the 1990s, Nintendo and Sony collaborated on a new game console. Nintendo quit the deal suddenly, one of the greatest business mistakes in video game history. Sony developed and released its own version of the PlayStation console, to spectacular success.
But there was a prototype "Nintendo PlayStation", and the working device is up for auction. It's going to go for a lot of money; bidding is already in the five figures.
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Nintendo Play Station Super NES CD-ROM Prototype - Sony and Nintendo c. 1992. At one point, this dual-branded prototype's existence was mere myth, and this is the very first time it will ever be offered at public auction. It is said to be the last remaining prototype of the alleged 200 that were forged from the failed joint-venture between Sony and Nintendo, two of the biggest competitors in the home console video game market. Reportedly, the other prototypes have since been destroyed. We at Heritage can attest the prototype is working, as we've played a couple of rounds of Mortal Kombat on it using a Super Famicom cartridge.
The prototype does share some exterior similarities with both the Super Nintendo and the Sony PlayStation, but it has its own, unique characteristics as well. It has not only a slot for Super Famicom and Super Nintendo games, but a CD-ROM drive that was meant to play disc-based media and presumably video games as well. Though the CD-ROM drive was not currently working when it was found in 2009, it has since been repaired by Benjamin Heckendorn, a YouTube personality known for his console repair videos.
Flashpoint, by BlueMaxima, is a game launcher that comes with more than 30,000 flash games built-in to a single download. As getting Adobe Flash working moves from "troublesome" to "virtually impossible", it's a timely feat of internet preservation.
Internet history is important, and content made on platforms such as Adobe Flash make up a significant portion of that culture doomed to obscurity. This project is dedicated to preserving as many games and animations from these platforms as possible, so that they aren't lost to time. Since early 2018, over a hundred contributors have helped Flashpoint save more than 38,000 games and 2,400 animations running on 13 different platforms.
"So much culture saved from the jaws of death," writes Bennett Foddy. Read the rest