I don’t remember the exact path I took to get to Sexy Videogameland (I’m sure we’ve all played the blog click-through game once or twice), but it sure as hell paid off. Michel Gagné (awesome animator, worked on some classic Don Bluth flicks) is making a sweet-looking shooter game. A video would probably explain its awesomeness best:
Purdy, ain’t it? Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet doesn’t have a publisher yet, but keep an eye on the official site, hopefully something will be announced soon. I wants. I know it’s probably too soon to speculate, but the fluid motions of the ship in this teaser video sure do look like they’d work well with a Wiimote.
… Smashville may be my favorite Smash Bros. stage ever!
When I choose an arena in which to do battle with friend and foe alike in the Smash Bros. series, I will generally lean toward a large flat stage without any random events. It bugs me when I’m going toe-to-toe with someone, and suddenly an Arwing blasts at us from behind and upsets the balance of the match, or the stage scrolls upward too fast for one of the players to jump to the next platform (like that even makes sense logistically; how would the battlers know where the camera was looking at any given moment? Only assholes think Icicle Mountain is a fun stage). Final Destination is of course the best option when available.
But the new Smashville level announced on the Smash Bros. Dojo like an hour ago combines my love of non-obtrusive flat level design with my possibly even bigger love of Animal Crossing. This is totally awesome! Townsfolk drink coffee in the background while watching the battle! Totakeke jams with some tunes Saturday nights at 8! Gracie’s standing around with her fancy car, and is a total bitch! I hate you Gracie, I hate you so much.
Gracie taunts me in my dreams.
Uh, yeah, Smashville rocks hard. Play there all day every day.
I’ve got good Marathon news, and I’ve got bad Marathon news:
The good news is that Marathon: Durandal is being updated for the next-generation, with support for HD graphics, new online multiplayer modes and leaderboards. Long-time Mac game developer Freeverse (formally Freeverse Software) is heading the project.
The bad news is that it’s only coming to Xbox Live Arcade.
I suppose those of you that love your Xbox 360s will get a big kick out of this, and have worlds of fun kicking Pfhor ass through the night. It’s bad enough that Microsoft took Bungie away from the Mac platform, but to take away our classic Mac games is just cruel.
Stef and I like to play video games communally. By that I mean that if one of us is playing a single-player game, the other likes to sit and watch. On console games, this works like a charm: we’ve got a (decently-sized) TV that both of us can view unobstructed. But when we want to play some Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, it’s a difficult affair to say the least. The DS screens don’t have very good horizontal viewing angles, so we had to keep tilting the system back and forth to be on the same page. Sometimes I read the dialogue aloud.
Not all that fun.
So now I’m reading through GamesAreFun’s liveblog of Sony’s E3 2007 keynote, and I see that a new version of the PSP is coming along with the ability to output video to a television. This is just what I want! … on the DS (I don’t really care much one way or the other what the loser PSP can do, except for TV-out of course). Nintendo, if you’re reading this blog (which is totally likely), please release an also-ran DS with TV-out support! I didn’t buy the DS Lite, but I’d buy this in a heartbeat!
The video highlights what appear to be early conceptual versions of character creation (this sequence actually would probably be easy to implement in-game), the workshop (vehicle-building; that guy can build vehicles really fast) and the city (which looks far too chaotic and freeform to be anything but pre-rendered video). Despite the whole thing clearly being a big ol’ teaser, I’m still quite psyched. The mixing of LEGO eras (like seeing the medieval dragon in the city) is gonna be a lot of fun. Of course, a lot of questions remain to be answered. Here’s a big one: what are we players going to do all day in this expansive interactive world? I’m guessing it ain’t gonna be an RPG as we commonly know it (no slaying LEGO boars for quick EXP), though I’d certainly enjoy some kind of level-up aspect. I’ll keep you posted when I learn more.
For the record, I totally side with Tycho’s stance on the matter (I probably sided with him before he even said it in the comic): game reviews with numerical values are pretty much meaningless when it comes to classic titles.
So to summarize this post: this game is fucking Lode Runner. Any fans of the Lode Runner games (ones that own a Wii, anyway) should grab it up immediately, and for shame on you for not noticing its availability on the Virtual Console sooner.
For everyone that hasn’t played before, for whom the self-evident sentiment above is meaningless: Battle Lode Runner is a game worth playing. It has dinosaurs, robots, gold… uh, Chinese guys… The object of the game is to collect all the gold in the level and escape before the enemy du jour makes physical contact with you (game heroes are such xenophobes). The only means you have of protecting yourself (beyond running away like some kind of coward) is to dig a hole in the ground. If an enemy falls in the hole, they’re temporarily incapacitated, giving you a chance to dance on his stupid head. That pretty much describes it! Go get ’em! The puzzles quickly get downright insidious, so you’d better get the game mechanics down fast.
I used to play a great Mac version back when I worked at a daycare center (I watched kids sometimes too! Honest!), so I was thrilled at the opportunity to grab up a nice classic version on the Wii.
The NES version is okay, but the Turbo-Grafx 16 edition is better-polished and includes more robust multiplayer modes for only a dollar more. IGN’s review (I was curious) says you should get it because it was the first VC title not previously available in the United States, but that’s stupid; you should play it because Lode Runner is a great game that deserves more than the relative obscurity it has fallen prey to, and Battle Lode Runner is a solid entry in the series.
Maybe I’m a little masochistic, but I regularly check up on the latest IGN happenings. Despite so much of their content being the hollow “every game is awesome” rhetoric inherent in all large-scale game review sites, they do provide extensive coverage on just about every game out there (except for Doki Doki Majo Shinpan; head over to DS Fanboy for up-to-the-minute news on that gem ^_^). Anyway, IGN was conducting an interview with Alain Tascan from EA Montreal regarding the upcoming (and very awesome-looking) Boogie, when the conversation turned to the state of the industry (as it often does)…
IGN: Are you surprised by how well Nintendo has managed to turn things around?
Alain Tascan: I think that Nintendo has always been focused on creating software and they certainly set a standard which the industry then follows. But now I think it’s possible for most homes to have more than one videogames console. You have an Xbox 360 or PS3 for the high definition experience and you have a Wii for fun.
Can I just say… bullshit? Why in the world would Nintendo risk cannibalizing sales of their own wildly successful DS games? And even more importantly, their own wildly successful DS hardware? Can anyone remember the last time Nintendo made even a single game for someone else’s hardware? Donkey Kong‘s licensing by Coleco and various other companies in the early 80’s is all that comes to mind. And would anyone spend $29 on a cellphone game? iPod video-based games force us to only part with a single Mr. Lincoln. No matter how insanely great the iPhone’s gonna be, a gaming platform it ain’t. Oh yeah, and a touchscreen D-pad would blow chunks.
I don’t normally try and convey terribly strong convictions one way or another when it comes to rumors (I’m actually waiting on a computer purchase based on what I’ve read on various Apple rumor sites), but yeah, I’ll just go ahead and say it. Bullshit.
Beyond that… not a lot new to report. The text blurbs tout the game as “bring[ing] the construction and creativity inherent to LEGO into a new, safe and fun virtual experience”. I’m all for an MMOG that strives to be kid-friendly, and I’ve got an awful hankerin’ for building an entire universe of LEGO, so Q4 2008 couldn’t feel further away right now. Both NetDevil’s portal and the official site are equally devoid of content, but at least the latter has the ubiquitous mailing list submission form. We’ll see if they actually make use of it.
I’ll send them suggestions and the like when solicited, but since there doesn’t seem to yet be any such avenue of communication: PLEASE RELEASE THIS GAME ON THE MAC OR YOUR ONLINE-CAPABLE NINTENDO CONSOLE OF CHOICE.
All caught up now? Good. The paid version, cleverly re-titled “N+” (looks like a cryptic ESRB rating to me), will be revamped with “some pretty cool new features and graphics, and will retain the gameplay you know and love”. Whatever that means. I was heavily addicted to this game when Paul dropped me a link oh so many months ago (he’s a lot better than I am though; lousy friggin’ seeking missiles), so this gets the official Mario Is Pumped Seal Of Approval. Here’s hoping Ned (the game’s robust level editor) makes it through the conversion process.