Celebrate Myst's 25th anniversary through this Kickstarter

In 1993, Cyan Inc.'s Robyn and Rand Miller created Myst, a magical interactive story/puzzle published on CD-ROM that forever changed the landscape of immersive gaming. Myst proved once and for all that videogames could be art. To celebrate Myst's 25th anniversary this year, Cyan launched a Kickstarter for a marvelous "historical anthology of the complete series, along with some special, Atrus-approved, authentic game artifacts." The games will be playable on Windows 10. (Mac editions may be in the future.) The Myst 25th Anniversary Collection will certainly spark the imagination of anyone who plays it, including those developing the next generation of immersive experiences.

Myst: 25th Anniversary Collection (Kickstarter)

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Play free emulators of all those handheld video games of yesteryear

The Internet Archive has an incredible free collection of 1980s handheld game console emulators. In 1978, my brother and I played the hell out of Coleco Electronic Quarterback. It's amazing how compelling and addictive a flashing array of LED dashes was back then, and still is. From the Internet Archive:

This collection of emulated handheld games, tabletop machines, and even board games stretch from the 1970s well into the 1990s. They are attempts to make portable, digital versions of the LCD, VFD and LED-based machines that sold, often cheaply, at toy stores and booths over the decades.

We have done our best to add instructions and in some cases link to scanned versions of the original manuals for these games. They range from notably simplistic efforts to truly complicated, many-buttoned affairs that are truly difficult to learn, much less master.

They are, of course, entertaining in themselves – these are attempts to put together inexpensive versions of video games of the time, or bringing new properties wholecloth into existence. Often sold cheaply enough that they were sealed in plastic and sold in the same stores as a screwdriver set or flashlight, these little systems tried to pack the most amount of “game” into a small, custom plastic case, running on batteries.

They also represent the difficulty ahead for many aspects of digital entertainment, and as such are worth experiencing and understanding for that reason alone.

(via Waxy)

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Pornhub confirms Fortnite as their top searched video game

Fortnite is the most popular game to be searched about in Pornhub's online database of videos. I am not sure what that means, really. While I am enthusiastic about both forms of entertainment-art I find their intersection to be a bit confusing.

There are a lot of great stats and tables about what people are searching for, to answer their Fortnite related pornographic need.

Via PornHub:

The most popular Fortnite related searches include “hentai”, “battle royale”, “animation” and “strip”. Following some viral videos on YouTube, “try not to nut fornite” also became a popular search. “SFM” is a term often combined with game searches (see Overwatch Insights).

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Meet vintage videogaming's archivist extraordinaire

Back in 2012, we published a feature about Frank Cifaldi, one of the world's leading collectors of rare vintage videogames and related ephemera. Since then, Cifaldi founded the Video Game History Foundation, dedicated to preserving this vibrant art form's history and culture for the ages.

(Vice) Read the rest

Vintage rotoscoping session from the making of Mortal Kombat (1992)

This 1992 behind-the-scenes footage of a Scorpion rotoscoping session from the making of Mortal Kombat could easily be a piece of absurdist Dada performance art. (via Uncrate)

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Russian van comes with Tetris built into the dashboard

Some models of Russian GAZelle Next commercial vans and trucks have Tetris integrated into the instrument cluster as an Easter egg. Here's the Google translation of the YouTube poster's instructions of how to bring up the game:

1) Turning the ignition on 2) Start a car 3) Three times the right turn signal 4) Two times distant 5) Five times on the clutch 6) raise the speed to 2000 and at that moment we light the arrow to the left

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Watch: Lego Grand Theft Auto

Nukazooka's latest video brings Grand Theft Auto's disconcerting brand of vehicular violence into the Lego realm.

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Watch this Stranger Things refresher wrapped in a faux 1980s videogame

Coming soon for the SNES Classic Edition?

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Hack for Super NES emulators turns Zelda and Super Metroid into two-player games

Andi McClure's emu-coop is an emulator hack that brings two-player fun to Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Legend of Zelda for the NES. It works by enabling players to share in-game inventory over the Internet.

emu-coop (GitHub via Waxy) Read the rest

The story behind the sounds of Pong, Pac-Man, and Doom

Four video game audio designers explore the psychoacoustics of vintage video games, from the accelerating heartbeat of Space Invaders to the dramatic woosh of Myst's linking books. From Wired:

With only a few channels of audio to play with, early videogame designers had to get very creative if they wanted their sounds to stand out. Pong, created in 1972, took a single tone and made it iconic, while Donkey Kong utilized the limited sounds of a Game Boy to trigger a range of cues and emotions.

As the games got more complex, so did the audio, and the theories behind it. A loop, or short, repeated section of audio, acts as a recurring cue. Dissonant sounds communicate failure, while consonant ones—think of the sympathetic vibrations of Super Mario Bros.—encourage players to continue. The tones can even mimic human sounds—a modulating synthesizer approximates laughter, like the “wawawawawa” in Duck Hunt.

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Teaser for Castlevania series on Netflix

With the classic 1980s Nintendo Entertainment System continuing to rack up extra lives thanks to the retro videogame resurgence, the thirty year-old game Castlevania has been ported to Netflix with a new animated series. Warren Ellis wrote it, which almost guarantees that it will be the best TV program based on a videogame ever, and that includes Hanna-Barbera's Pac-Man.

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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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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.

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Youtube artist SamuraiGuitarist does music from Final Fantasy VII

I've been a huge fan of Steve Onotera, a Canadian Youtube vlogger and musician, since David posted his earlier video last year.

I decided to support him on Patreon, and as one of the perks of my support, I got to choose a song for him to do a version of. Of course, I chose Final Fantasy, specifically the Bombing Mission theme from Final Fantasy VII. Not only did he do an awesome bluegrass rendition for me, he presented it complete with in-game combat visuals!

Patreon has been a great way to support independent artists across a huge spectrum of genres, and a great way to discover and support musicians, authors, artists, and makers.

See more of SamuraiGuitarist's work on Patreon, or his Youtube channel for more of his videos. Read the rest

Zelda fan/maker controls smart home by playing ocarina

In celebration of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Allen Pan built a wonderful home automation system where the interface is an ocarina as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (Thanks, Lux!)

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Inside this storage locker is the Video Game History Foundation

Frank Cifaldi has a storage locker packed with vintage video game magazines, books, marketing materials, early game drawings and designs, prototypes, and ephemera from birth of the industry to the present. This locker, and his Oakland home, hold the core collection of the nonprofit Video Game History Foundation and Cifaldi's goal is to make it available for the world to enjoy.

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Nintendo Switch review roundup

The highly-anticipated Nintendo Switch hits stores on Friday. According to today's reviews, it's got a lot of potential, some of which has yet to be realized even days before launch. From DIGG's Review Roundup:

If there's one area where the Switch excels largely (though not entirely), it's as a portable gaming tablet:

Though Nintendo marketing seems intent on describing the Switch as a home console that it just so happens you can take with you, I've found myself using the system as a portable much more often than on the TV... The system goes from its power-sipping "standby" to "actively playing a game right where I left off" in about three seconds, making it incredibly easy to pick up and put down as needed. I've highlighted the quality of the Switch's 6.2-inch, 720p screen for portable gaming in previous pieces, and the quality display still stands out after just over a week with the system. (Ars Technica)

The controllers are dogged by connectivity issues when not connected to the portable console:

The Joy-Con are a nifty idea, though they don’t always work as well as I would’ve hoped. For starters, I simply haven’t found them very comfortable. I find that the buttons are oddly placed and the thumbsticks feel small and overly flippy... I’ve also run into a frustrating issue where the left Joy-Con momentarily loses tracking and stops responding to my inputs... It appears to be an issue with a body part or other object blocking the Joy-Con’s view of the docked console...

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