Flashing Pixels to Delight and Amuse

Currently between games for either work or pleasure, I idly browse for brief, cost-free delights to tide me over until some new pixel shaded murder simulator sets up shop on my hard drive. I find these, amongst others.

Hell (pictured) is a horizontal shmup in the vein of Gradius, and impressively was made in just four days, including music. Your ship’s auto-firing throughout, which may prevent the RSI blues, but a similarly near-constant stream of deathrays from your enemies keeps up the challenge.

Jet Set Willy Online – The online bit I sadly can’t attest to yet, as I can only find one server, which I can’t seem to connect to even after extensive firewall faffery. You may have more luck than I, in which case please share your impressions below. It’s a remake of the beloved and, even to this day, reliably weird Spectrum platformer that now supports up to 16 players a-collectin’ and a-jumpin’ at once, as well as offering up a splendily-realised singleplayer mode containing 255 rooms. Taking it online is a fine idea, though my mind struggles a bit to imagine how 16 competing Willies actually works in practice. Oh – tread carefully around its website, as the barrage of penis gags rapidly becomes vexatious.

Worthy casual game Planetcruncher sadly does not involve the crunching of actual planets. It does involve ensaring them with a magic space-rope, causing them to explode into either sparkly gemstones or flying black holes, which is almost as fun. I am entirely unsure as to the reason for such intergalactic lassoing, however: perhaps an RPS reader would like to think up a ludicrously elaborate backstory for it.

Finally, the ongoing quest to bring graphics to Dwarf Fortress continues. 3Dwarf isn’t playable as such, but it does allow you to admire your mighty citadel from within a proper 3D engine blessed with a repositionable camera. Crysis it ain’t, but it certainly introduces a grand sense of scale to the game also known as Chapter II of Slaves To Armok: God of Blood, and a chance to seriously visualise your creations with something other than your feeble imagination. Seems like the DF community is going nuts for it, so perhaps it can be considered a glimpse of things to come. There are various intruiging ruminations as to whether it could ever realistically be expanded into a fully playable 3D mod downthread in the linked page, and the chance to boggle incredulously at an enormous statue that a player named Kennel painstakingly constructed over 10 long months. (In-game months, mind.)


  1. Janek says:

    Haven’t we already had a post about 3Dwarf ¬_¬

    I think far more interesting are Toady’s continuing dev logs, and the ridiculous levels of under-the-bonnet random detail that are going into world creation. I love it.

  2. MedO says:

    I did have a chance to play Jet Set Willy Online…online on several occasions, most notably on one of the TIGSource Game Nights. Well, as I tried the single player mode I thought, well, how would this game EVER be fun in multiplayer?

    I just couldn’t imagine it. I still don’t really understand it. But fun it is, especially if you play it with a bunch of people you know.

    There are a load of different game modes, like, for example, the first player to pick up 30 items wins, or Pitfall, where you have to run through a linear parcours of rooms as fast as possible, or Willy Tag, where you have one player (with a pinkish color) start a bit later than everyone else, and everyone who has that color turns everyone he touches pink as well, and the last nonpink willy wins.

    Another fun aspect is that you can make your own animated sprite to use in the game, and on the TIGSource Game Nights, many popular video game figures could be seen on the server. Someone (hehe) even found a way around the only-black-and-white-pixels limitation imposed for sprites by the game, which made drawing the sprites far easier, but also a good deal less challenging.

    I’ll try to join or open a server for half an hour or so now, just in case ;)

  3. MisterBritish says:

    I know it’s a little behind the times (what with it being an IGF finalist and all) but Iron Dukes is a fantastic little web-game demo with good graphics, music and absurdly funny writing.

  4. The_B says:

    Ah the memories of Jet Set Willy. *Remi…Remme…rumm..reminni… Remembers*

    Ah, what? Comment editing? Hurrah! Also: oooh!

  5. Kennel says:

    Woo! Got mentioned on RPS!

    I count that as a one minute of fame (I’ve used about 12 already).

    (And in case it wasn’t clear: it took 10 months in game but only couple of hours in real life) ;)

  6. DigitalSignalX says:

    The past week I’ve been playing a free to play, pay for perks MMO title called “Perfect World” – which is evidently a new English language port of a older F2P title in Korea. I found it on betawatcher and it looks to be the little brother to the big budget graphic dazzling AION from NCSOFT, which has yet to be released.

    Basically, it’s a large persistent world fantasy MMO with all the usual elements: running around, doing quests, killing mobs, developing your char, your class skill tree in the desired path, crafting items, collecting materials, guilds, guild wars, instance dungeons, etc. The difference though is that it also has a vertical element. All characters classes can fly by various means. and as your levels develop, you find that there are just many things up in the sky to quest and grind on as on the ground. Think LineageII with a far higher Z-axis.

    The graphics are above average but no where near system taxing. Probably in the range of WoW. What does stand out though is character creation: Never in my life have I seen so many details available for customization. You could realistically spend several hours tweaking your char with well over a hundred different option slides or simply choose to modify from about a dozen pre-sets. What’s more, once you create your char, you can go back at any time and edit them cosmetically, should you grow bored of staring at them on screen after many hours.

    On the bad side, it’s still a grinder and the Engrish NPC dialoges are hilariously difficult at times to wade through if you’re into role play and actually caring about the game plots, but so far, it’s pretty fun.

  7. Piratepete says:

    Methinks The_B may be far to young to remmi…remme….remember Jet Set Willy ‘back in the day’


  8. Nick says:

    I prefered Technician Ted.

    Or Chucky Egg.

  9. The_B says:

    Technically yes I was for when it originally came out, but I did have a friend with a Speccy with the game back in the early 90s.

    I may also use the birthday card as my excuse to reminesnce anyway… ¬_¬ :P

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