Posts Tagged ‘interplay’

Fragile Allegiance & The RTS Formula That Never Was

The youngest of you won’t remember The Before Times. One of the minor side effects of the millennium bug killing off 90% of the Earth’s population was that not long afterwards, strategy games stratified into a tiny handful of highly formulaic subtypes. There’s a downside to the unquestionably better standards of design we’ve enjoyed in the last decade or so. It’s rare to find a genuinely bad game in the same way that games were bad in the 90s. But I can’t help imagining what other ideas were bounced around before everyone agreed that the wheel was indeed the way forward, and Unk and Thogg would have to resign their posts as Chief and Assistant Thing Hurler To The Village And Sometimes The River.

Take, for example, Fragile Allegiance [Mobygames link]. Its position in game history was odd even on release in 1996 – both a port and a remake and a sequel to the Amiga’s semi-obscure, direly-named, but terrific K240 (itself a sequel to 1991’s Utopia) – and its design still defies the neat categorisation we’re used to. Technically it’s a real-time strategy straddling “city builder” and “4X”, but not quite conforming to any common model.

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Interplay Sells Off Descent, Kingpin, Earthworm Jim Etc

Don’t call it a comeback. Don’t call it, like, three comebacks. Interplay, once renowned as a house of PC ideas, has failed to get back off the ground across various attempts at resurrection, and it seems matters have gone no better for whoever is currently wearing the well-worn skinsuit. ‘Interplay’ has just announced a firesale of various intellectual properties. Which means that the likes of Descent, Freespace, Kingpin, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, MDK, Sacrifice and Earthworm bally Jim are now looking for new homes.

Oh God, come on, let’s do this. Let’s get the RPS community to club together to buy the rights to and make a new Kingpin game.
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Have You Played… Star Trek: 25th Anniversary?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

This is my first time with Interplay’s TOS-set point and click adventure game since the 90s. I was braced for awful things. I was wrong. It’s still rather lovely – and, if the Abramsverse leaves you pining for the more measured approach of the Roddenberry years, rest assured that this is very Star Trek indeed.

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Fluffy Fluffy News! Toonstruck Arrives On GOG

It's been a while, friends -The Phantom Alt-Texter

It bothers me to my core that Toonstruck is not a more widely remembered and adored ’90s adventure. It deserves to be celebrated alongside LucasArts and Sierra, and yet so often goes forgotten. Thankfully, attention is being drawn to it once more as it finally arrives in GOG’s collection. It’s brilliant! You should play it.

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Freespace Boardgame: Sort-Of Interplay Sort Of Returns

It’s the day for gaming comebacks! Just so long as they’re gaming comebacks in which it’s difficult to ascertain whether anyone meaningfully involved in the original thing is on board. Interplay’s latest attempt to re-enter our affections isn’t quite as suspicion-clouded as West Games’ second dodgy-lookin’ gesture towards a spiritual STALKER sequel, but it’s fair to say that whoever wears the Interplay skinsuit are not Interplay’s original founders. They have, however, managed to recruit Chris Taylor, one of the Fallout’s designers, and it’s he who’s made an “officially-licensed” boardgame adaptation of Interplay’s space combat sim Freespace. Wot no Clayfighter 4?
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Descent Reimagining Sol Contingency Foxed

Love will tear us apart again.

Fan remakes and reimaginings are labours of love living on a knife-edge, potentially blooming into a glorious monument to their adoration but knowing that one single letter from the owner could shut everything down at any moment. Sol Contingency has received that letter. It was to be a shiny “reimagining” of Parallax’s splendid six-degrees-of-freedom space shooter Descent in the UDK, but owners Interplay have stopped that. The team say they’ll continue, changing enough to make Sol Contingency their own thing.

But this wasn’t all unrequited love; at one point, Interplay were interested in making Sol Contingency an official Descent game.

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Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Neuromancer

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

Interplay’s 1988 Neuromancer game is only very loosely based on the William Gibson novel of the same name. As it turns out, legendary acid psychologist Timothy Leary was the one who originally wanted to make a game about the book — he thought escaping into computer games might be the next psychedelic frontier.

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