Run Through The Internet: Free Platformer 404Sight Out

Hack the planet!

“Auntie Alice! Auntie Alice!” the younglings cry, tugging at my skirts of badger pelts and kingfisher feathers. “Tell us again about before The Crash! Tell us again about being an Internaut.”

Ah, little ones… pure white landscapes stretched out before me, angular shapes floating in datafog, datapaths branching and merging, and I sprint down these, jumping, rolling, choosing the quickest path to deliver my precious packets while dodging and smashing The Man’s obstacles.

Well, describing free run-o-platformer 404Sight [official site] excites the younglings more than the sorry truth could. I don’t have the heart to spoil their dreams.

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Rain Check: Mortal Kombat X Character Unlocks

The first time I played Mortal Kombat [official site], Nintendo had replaced all the blood with sweat, which seems like the kind of extreme detox plan Gwyneth Paltrow might be promoting next week. Instead of actually playing the game, I spent all of my time trying to figure out how to enter the cheat code that would activate the gore and fatalities, little realising that such a code only existed on the Genesis version of the game. The SNES was Sweat City forever.

These days, the cool kids edit files instead of entering cheat codes. A redditor by the name of XVermillion has unlocked previously unplayable characters Rain, Sindel and Baraka by renaming references to assets in the source files. Instructions are here.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for drawing polygons then rotating them in code, for no good reason. Best justify the time that’ll take by first gathering the week’s best writing about videogames.

  • Star Wars: Galaxies was a fascinating game at launch, one which treated the world of Star Wars as a real place and went to great pains to offer more than simply a power fantasy. That’s why people still remember it so fondly and also, I suspect, why it never found lasting commercial success. Raph Koster, one of the game’s designers, wrote this past week about how they dealt with the game’s Jedi problem. As in, how do you make a multiplayer game where everyone wants to be the game-breaking superhero class? I’m fond of one, unused solution, quoted below.
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The RPS Bargain Bucket: Bunny You Didn’t Guess That

In case anyone was curious as to what I was squeaking about last week, this happened. Totally snoopydance material, don’t you think? But that’s plow on, and plough deep into the fields of interactive excess. This week, we cheat a little with the whole ‘bucket’ requirement of user-submitted plushie. Isn’t this midnight-black bunny from rgk worth the exception? Come on, guys. Tell me it isn’t.

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Advertising For The Megacorps: AdvertCity Released

“This story is dedicated to all those cyberpunks who fight against injustice and corruption every day of their lives.” Every morning I stare in the mirror at those words, from Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher, tattooed across my neck. That’s my credo, man. However, if I were to sell out, I’d be invaluable to the megacorp advertising departments with my snappy copy [give over -ed.]. I might consider cyberpunk advertising tycoon game AdvertCity [official site] a ‘what if?’ scenario. I’m curious is all.

AdvertCity came out yesterday. Across meatspace and cyberspace, you get to plaster ads, build a reputation, beat the competition, influence the growth of the procedurally-generated city, and make a stack of creds. Selling out sounds cybergreat, cyberman.

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Swinging A Stick: How Landscape And Childhood Are Key To The Continued Popularity Of Fantasy Fiction

Once at primary school I tried to convince my teacher that we needed a new word – or at least that we needed one that might exist already, but that we’d somehow forgotten. This is going to be a piece partly about words, and “fantasy” was one that I was never totally happy with. It lacked, as I saw it, the generic precision of “science-fiction,” and I wanted a more specific description for that strand of fantasy storytelling and world-building that (I did not really know at the time, but would have pretended to if asked) has flowed from Tolkien’s consolidation of elves and dragons, dwarves and orcs. I wanted to be able to pin, with a single word, that mixture of magic and folklore, that particular set of imaginative boundaries with which I was so often engaged and so thoroughly obsessed. The best I could come up with was “fantamystical”, which, if you’ve been paying attention for the last twenty years, did not catch on.

Luckily it’s been a very kind twenty years for this area of fiction, to the point where we hardly need the word fantamystical at all (although I am willing to give it one last push if you guys are). A combination of, among other things, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, and screen retellings of The Lord Of The Rings and A Song Of Ice And Fire have made my adolescent anxieties about the ambiguous categorizations of fiction redundant, leaving me with merely dozens of other anxieties, and us with Tolkien-fenced fantasy imprinted on our culture, and our games (this is being written in the gap between the arrival of Pillars Of Eternity and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, with Dragon Age: Inquisition still questing, exploring and adventuring in the background).

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