Posts Tagged ‘Retro’

Freeware Garden: Sun God Star Bridge

Sun Gods are delicate, subtle creatures. Never, ever shock them.

Back when I was young and impressionable I considered Space Harrier to be the apex of both 3D and shoot-’em-up gaming despite it, well, not being exactly 3D. Then again, when everything looks amazingly and thrilling a seven-year-old rarely cares for details. I cared only for blasting weird alien things.

I seem to have not quite outgrown my Space Harrier obsession and that’s why I downloaded Sun God Star Bridge the moment I saw it.

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D/Generation To Return! An HD Remake On The Way

I’m not saying I cause all the good things in the world. I leave it to others to accurately observe this. So it will have to be someone else who gives me my deserved credit for the exciting news that West Coast Software has gained the license to remake D/Generation. I mean, I mentioned it only three weeks ago on RPS, as an example of a game people have forgotten about but that brings a wave of joyful nostalgia when recalled. And now, well, I’m just saying. Big thanks to Retro Gamer for the spot.

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I Seem To Be Having Trouble Starting Titan Quest

Titan Quest is a game I’ve gone back to a few times over the eight or so years since it came out. A straight, classic(al) Action RPG, I find it hard to fully justify why its calm ways engross me so much. Yet every so often it calls to me, so back once again I went. And found I couldn’t start. Not because of technology issues – it holds up extremely well – but because of that opening moment: it felt too good.

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DOStant Memories

Reflecting on things I take for granted, things which are an everyday part of how I play videogames today, I think of what used to constitute that for me. What was my Steam forums, my C:\Program Files (x86), my Catalyst Control Center, my YouTube clips, my memes, my take-the-side-off-the-case-to-stop-it-overheating? What seemed so important that it burned?
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R2-Detailed: X-Wing Alliance Resurrected

Now that I’ve got a massive and over-complicated joystick, the only games I’m interested in playing are games which are best-suited to a massive and over-complicated joystick. Yes, yes, I’ll get to Freespace and its total conversions, but first I had some unfinished business to take care of. TIE Fighter was my last substantial experience with Totally Games and Lucasarts’ revered series of Star Wars-themed space combat sims, and I had only a dim sense of how the flighty-fighty games had progressed afterwards. I elected to skip X-Wing vs TIE Fighter and go straight to the end, 1999’s full 3D X-Wing Alliance.
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Another Life, Another Time: Far Cry 2 Revisited

From: Alec Meer,
Brighton,
February 2014

To: Alec Meer,
Bath,
October 2008

Hey kid,

Hah, I’ve probably pissed you off already, haven’t I? That was easily done back then, as I recall. Yeah, yeah, you’re no kid – right now, every one of your twenty-nine years feels like a scar. It’s been a bad year, even by your standards. You’re burning to up and leave this fusty old town you’ve spent the last eight years in, but you feel so tired, so broken, so bitter. You’re also about to sit down with Far Cry 2, and you’re not going to like it. Everything’s going to change in time, including how you feel about that game.

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I’m Hooked: Grapple Knight

GRAPPLING HOOKS! It’s pretty simple, every developer out there. If your game doesn’t include a grappling hook, then you are making a bad game. This isn’t complicated, and it’s about time everyone started taking some notice. Like Red Knight Games have with their forthcoming Grapple Knight. (Cheers, Indiegames.) Forthcoming, that is, if people will chuck them another $4k AUD or so. There’s a demo to incentivise such investiments.

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Retro: Startopia

‘Twas an odd coincidence that Startopia and Double Fine’s Spacebase DF-9 alpha arrived on Steam so hot on each other’s heels. The current paucity of activities in the latter would have had me hankering for the former even if a digital postman were not able to immediately deliver it to my hard drive – it’s one of few games I still have a hard copy of lurking on my shelf. Mucky Foot’s space station-set management game was something of an era-ender, the last great gasp of the Theme Park descendant genre as-was. We’re seeing a renaissance of sorts of now, with Prison Architect, Spacebase and the craven Godus, but the fully-formed, big budget age essentially ended with Startopia (though you could argue similar for the muddled Republic: The Revolution, a deeply strange Icarus of a game from Mucky Foot’s fellow post-Bullfrog offshot, Elixir.)

I’ve made Startopia my destination once again for the last couple of days, my first extensive revisit in many years, and I’m relieved to discover that it now exudes at least some of the timeless quality to be found in relative contemporaries such as Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park.
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Stunt Island & A Lament For Flight Sims’ Lost Levity

Once upon a time, flight simulators were the most tantalising, promise-filled facet of nascent PC gaming. First-person perspectives were the bleeding edge of software entertainment and, at that point, sticking a gun in that first person-perspective had yet to achieve the total dominance it has now. (A first-person perspective never was the only way to play a flight sim, of course, but at the time it seemed like the most thrilling one, as the skies and clouds hurtled across peripheral vision, the ground loomed and zoomed dangerously into sight and rival planes threatened to fly directly into our eyeballs.)

I thought, even post-Wolfenstein, that flying a pretend aeroplane was the single most exciting concept I’d ever heard of. Apart from flying a real aeroplane, anyway.
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Gaming Made Us

When we were younger so much younger than today

Over the years, we’ve built up a vast stock of Gaming Made Mes – highly, unashamedly, gloriously subjective features about the videogames that proved, for one reason or another, formative to writers including the RPS Hivemind and associates, and developers such as Ken Levine, Erik Wolpaw and Soren Johnson. This is the complete collection.

Some spectacular reading awaits you below, on a huge array of even more spectacular games.
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Closure & Colonization

In 2008, I took it upon myself to return to and finally finish a game that had hung over me for 14 years – the original Civilization sequel, Sid Meier’s Colonization (the old one, not the underwhelming Civ 4-based remake from a couple of years back). Here’s what happened.

This one’s about closure. Despite playing it zealously for weeks on end back in 1994, I didn’t ever complete a game of Sid Meier’s Colonization, a sequel of sorts to the first Civilization. Powered by Brian Reynolds as much as it was Meier, it’s a turn-based strategy tale of establishing colonies in the New World or Americas, and eventually winning independence from their avaricious motherland. My copy silently, immediately and cruelly crashed to a DOS prompt whenever I finally bested my imperial oppressors, denying me the ending sequence and sense of victory I so richly deserved. Disheartened, I duly forgot about the game for a decade and a half, but lately it flitted across my brain by chance, and a curious longing awoke within me. I need to win my colonies their independence at last. I need to know what happens. I don’t care how brief or stupid or hilariously low-tech it is. I need to know.
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It’s No Reason Thursday: Chuckie Egg

The bird *is* the word

It’s Thursday, there’s nothing particular going on, so let’s all play retro weirdo-treat Chuckie Egg. Yep, I’m so impressionable that I even accidentally convince myself to do things – irrelevantly mentioning the old BBC Micro/Acorn Electron/Spectrum platformer in an earlier post fixed it firmly in my mind, and with crushing inevitability, I found myself Googling for and then playing the strange, difficult tale of a farmer stealing eggs from murderous, ladder-climbing geese. Or ducks. Or chickens. Or whatever they are. In any case, they shouldn’t be able to climb ladders.
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Pixel Posse Protectors: Team Fortress Arcade

A team of two is no team at all

Some of you may remember a dinky demake of Left 4 Dead that Alec posted about at the tail-end of the previous decade. The chap behind it, Eric Ruth, clearly loves nothing more than making retro-pixel-tributes because he’s done a few more as well. There’s one about electronic rackets (not to be confused with Pong, which was electronic racquets) and another starring some gaudy green space marine. You know of what I speak. His upcoming project is another Valve-inspired title though, and it looks like a lot of fun. It’s Team Fortress 2 Arcade: a sidescrolling beat/shoot ‘em up. Here’s an interview and some gameplay footage captured on film by piki geek.

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Eurogamer Retro: Discworld Noir

Nothing is as noir as a vampire in a bar.

The Discworld novels are quite the divider. Everyone I know seems to love them, from my dad to my about-to-be-wife, while I’m pretty indifferent. But I do remember really enjoying Discworld Noir back in their 90s. Going back to it, I was surprised not only by how well written it is, but also how little game there actually is within all the writing. I consolidated those thoughts on Eurogamer, including bits like:

“The witch novels – that’s safer territory. Gone is the “this is a bit like that”, replaced with instead just fun storytelling and embellished fairytale. There he has me. And there’s more common ground – we can all agree that the first two Discworld games were bloody awful.”

You can read the whole piece here.

EG Retro: Escape From Monkey Island

Le Chuck's beard has never looked finer.

I’ve had enough of the downright prejudice against Escape From Monkey Island. When I originally reviewed it for PC Gamer in 2000, I recognised what a superb adventure game it was. And replaying it eleven years later, it remains every bit as funny, clever and well constructed. Yes, Monkey Kombat sucks beyond belief and was a stupid mistake. Yes, the camera was often poor. But the adventure game it’s all in? Well, in my Eurogamer retro, I say this:

“The humour is just wonderful. It’s certainly a damned sight funnier than the first and third games in the series, making me laugh out loud a remarkable number of times. It’s a game that understands the basics, such as: ducks are funny animals. And the complicated, like… okay – there’s nothing complicated. But there’s a lot that’s clever.”

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Eurogamer Retro: Tomb Raider Legend

She's a brave girl, existing without internal organs.

I really do like Tomb Raider Legend. Obviously I hate its boss fights, and clearly I’m not so stupid as to enjoy the QTE nonsense that occasionally infects it. But it was such a treat to see Lara brought back to life, once more in a world tailor-made for her personal jumping distance, in a way remarkably faithful to the game’s triumphant early releases. And even more so, with its surprising sense of humour. And so it is that I celebrate this, with caveats, over on Eurogamer. I say things like,

“It’s exquisitely British, too. When realising that the clues (oh yes ‘the plot’ well, Lara’s friend Amanda didn’t die when she thought she did, and there’s this sword in bits, and something about Lara’s mum, and so on) are taking them from their exotic worldwide locations to, well, Cornwall, Lara replies, ‘As in, take the M5 to the A30, Cornwall?'”

I also had a bit of an insane post-boss fight rant which didn’t make it into the final edit, that I’ve put below.

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NaClBox: Play Monkey Island In A Browser

This is a picture of Monkey Island in a browser.

That’s my slightly sensationalist tabloid headline, but it’s entirely true. So long as you own the game, etc. And via the burgeoning magic that is NaClBox. Which really does let you play Monkey Island, or indeed any other DOS game playable in DOSBox, in a web browser. If that web browser is Google’s Chrome. I know it’s true – I did it.

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Eurogamer Retrospective: Dreamfall

Pants!

Oh, so on Sunday, in the middle of our yacht-based hammocking, my retrospective of Dreamfall went up on Eurogamer. The conflict the game generates in me was interesting to explore, and once again its moving story of faith and Faith won out. For instance, I utter:

“This isn’t a game that’s worried about drawing in the kids. In fact, it’s imbued with a strong tone of melancholy that it absolutely does not let go of throughout. This is a downbeat game, and goodness knows that’s rare. But it’s not so one-dimensional as to be miserable. Within the trauma, the sadness, the directionless confusion of people’s lives, is a message of extraordinary optimism, a resounding cry of hope. Because there’s faith.”

You can read the rest of it here. And I really whole-heartedly recommend reading my interview with creator Ragnar Tørnquist. I think it’s one of the best things wot I’ve done.

EG Retro: Legend Of Kyrandia + MAPS!

Remember when games had graphics, eh?

This weekend saw my Eurogamer retrospective of one of the lesser-remembered adventure games of the early Nineties, the Legend Of Kyrandia: Book One. It contained moments like,

“It contained a single cursor. I’m not really sure what to do with this information. Does it undermine everything? Is everything that’s being produced now a homage to Kyrandia?

Obviously not. And not only because Kyrandia also suffers from the same issues. To say the story owes something to the King’s Quest series is a bit like saying Vodafone owes something to the Inland Revenue. In this fairytale land an evil wizard – brilliantly named Malcolm – is removing all the magic and, er, killing a few trees.”

And rather delightfully, it had me making maps for the first time in years. Below!

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