Link Roundup 5/22/22

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

From Marc Deschamps at comicbook, Epic bought Fall Guys studio Mediatonic, and as a result, when Fall Guys goes free-to-play, they’re removing it from Steam. People who had bought it on Steam will still have access to it there, and they plan to still support and update that version, but new copies will no longer be sold there.

Multiple places are reporting on a new game described as Stardew Valley meets Spirited Away. I’m choosing to link to Kate Gray’s post on NintendoLife on Spirittea. I get the sense that there is a PR department around this media blitz, although I certainly don’t begrudge them that, drebnar.

On April 7, Duncan Heaney at Square-Enix had an interview with the producer of Chrono Cross, Koichiro Sakamoto, about the recently-released remake of the game. It contains the revelation, hardly surprising, that the source code of the game had been lost, and they literally had to recreate the game from surviving materials and deducing the implementation logic of the original.

Homer of War

Chris Carter at Destructoid points us to a God of War mod that puts Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson and Ned Flanders into the game, complete with pretty accurate voice acting! They also linked to a YouTube video showing it off. The article mentions some people suggesting another mod with Peter Griffin fighting a chicken, about which, could I just suggest: please don’t.

At Ars Technica, Sam Machkovech calls Warner Bros’ Multiversus, their upcoming smashalike (I’m still trying to make that term happen!) “a compelling Smash Bros. clone.” I mean, it’s got Steven Universe and Garnet in it, so that’s a plus, but no Pearl or Peridot! Also: no Switch version yet.

Goomba Stomp is a website that’s been showing up in my searches more and more often lately, and Renan Fontes there has an essay discussing player character growth in The Legend of Zelda!

Damian McFerran at NintendoLife wrote about the troubled history of the Polymega retro gaming console last year, and now mentions that it may be getting Dreamcast support.

John Walker at Kotaku mentions Mysplaced, a game that looks an awful lot like Nintendo’s remake of Link’s Awakening, which is causing some concernation among fans. Liam Doolan at NintendoLife also chimes in. If you were to ask me? The whole dang industry is built off of copies of copies and copies, and to suddenly care about this one is kind of ridiculous. As if Zelda clones weren’t once like half the industry! Have they ever seen Neutopia? Golden Axe Warrior? They are not going to get sued because they don’t call these characters “Link,” “Zelda,” or “Ganon.” Next!

Jez Corden at Windows Central says Microsoft’s Activision/Blizzard acquisition is moving fast. I wonder if, way back in the early 80s, those bright young refugees from Atari suspected that, one day, the company they were founding would one day contribute to the value of a corporate behemoth?

Finally, in more serious news, Luke Plunkett at Kotaku notes that Epic Games contributed money to help Ukrainian developers working for Frogwares to be safer as Russia’s invasion of that nation continues. Good luck guys!

Sundry Sunday: MST3K & Rifftrax Gaming Clips

You’ve made it another Sunday! For making it this far, why not take a break with some fun things? The whole point of Sundry Sunday is to be a low effort thing for the end of the week, but to be honest I couldn’t resist putting in a little extra work on this one.

It might not be evident on the surface, but the classic riffing show Mystery Science Theater 3000 has roots deeply entwined with video games. The show’s staff were known to spend off hours playing Doom against each other on a company LAN they had made for that purpose. During the show, they produced a clip that was distributed on the PlayStation Underground magazine CDs in which they riffed on some of Sony’s artsy commercials from that time (above).

After the original run of the show ended, some of the cast and crew drifted for a bit, doing various projects. One was a short-lived web comedy magazine called Timmy Big Hands, which we might look at some day. Show leads Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett did a couple of other things together, like a four episode movie riffing project called The Film Crew, before they eventually settled into doing Rifftrax, a project the three of them work on to this day.

While at Rifftrax, they’ve produced at least two game riffing clips. The first was made for sadly-departed gaming site Joystiq, and riffs on Mega Man, Final Fantasy X, Sonic the Hedgehog and, especially, something from the Metal Gear Solid series, which I would think is the perfect fodder for such video merrymaking:

Afterward they made another short clip for IGN riffing on Gears of War 3:

Rifftrax makes their living producing and selling clips making fun of shorts and movies, and one of those is the 1993 schlockfest Super Mario Bros. I call it schlock, but it’s one of those movies that critical opinion has slowly been coming around on over the years since its release. More and more it’s being seen as a competently-made and entertaining kids’ sci-fi fantasy movie perfectly of a piece with the era in which it was made-it’s just not a very good adaptation of the games with which it shares a title.

Rifftrax sells the whole Super Mario Bros. riff, complete with the movie on which it’s based, on their site. I highly recommend it, but IGN presents a nine-minute clip teaser from it on YouTube:

ABAgames’ “Good Old Game Sound Generator”

Kenta Cho is a brilliant game maker, and he’s come up with a couple of generators that can generatively make short stretches of music, suitable for classic-inspired arcade games.

Short VGM Generator is on, and works by taking a pre-existing piece of music and attempting to make another piece of a similar style.

The Good Old Game Sound Generator is on GitHub, but for playing around you might be more interested in its Demo page. It takes a bit more effort to make something with it, but it’s a much more flexible tool. I must leave you to your own devices to make something of value, or at least of interest, using it.

The process that let him to create these tools is up on a page he made on If you’re interested in generative music you should take a look!

Link Roundup 5/20/22

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Greetings Earth creatures from the dark depths of space! Let’s get down to bidness.

People Make Games on YouTube reminds us about “VRChat, the ‘Metaverse’ people actually like.” Ooh, burn! (39 minutes)

More burning! Martin Robinson at Eurogamer says the new PlayStation Plus feels like a missed opportunity. Mwa ha ha! It fills my veins with life-giving phlegm!

Image from Square-Enix

Minyea at NicheGamer tells us that, despite being sold off by Square-Enix, the Tomb Raider series has now topped 88 million in lifetime sales.

Ari Notis in today’s lone Kotaku item: Cyberpunk 2077 Totally Misunderstands Subways, According To A Transit Expert.

It seems that the people making Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl have asked some to stop calling it a Smash-killer. As for me, I’m still trying to make smashalike happen, drebnar!

Gryson from Mega Drive Shock translates an article from a Japanese newspaper in 1996 expressing worries about falling 16-bit sales, and expressing worries of a second “Atari shock,” a Japanese term for the U.S. Game Crash of 1983.

Alana Hagues at NintendoLife anticipates the upcoming Switch release of Guild of Dungeoneering, a game where you build dungeons, not to kill characters outright, but to try to keep them alive.

Alex Cranz at Verge podcast The Vergecast (natch) has an episode about Microsoft’s Adaptable Controller, a super-configurable controller made with accessibility in mind. He speaks with one of its inventors, Bryce Johnson. It’s 33 minutes long.

Jake Gable writing for Cultr lists his 10 favorite PlayStation 2 games. For the details you should read the article, but from 10th to 1st, they are Kingdom Hearts, Virtua Fighter 4, Medal of Honor: Frontline, The Getaway, James Bond 007: Nightfire, Pro Evolution Soccer 5, Ratchet & Clank, Gran Turismo 4, The Simpsons Hit & Run, and Grand Theft Auto Vice City and San Andreas, cheating a bit by combining two games into one item.

Rich Stanton at PC Gamer says Cave Story is now a roguelike. Why not? Make everything a roguelike! Let’s burn it all down! We won’t rest until you can play an @-sign in Animal Crossing and swing a parenthesis at K.K. Slider! Well back in boring old reality, this is actually a fangame called Doukutsu Randamu: The Cave Story Roguelike. It’s free on!

Darren Allan of TechRadar tells us that AMD has new GPUs, they’re in stock, and priced “strictly at retail.” Sounds like they’re adamant about not chasing the crpyto-mining market, hooray!

Anthony Wallace at Retro Dodo tells us of seven interesting recent Pokemon Emerald romhacks! Romhacks haven’t shown up on Set Side B much yet but we’re fully in favor of them here, so, look out for more on this subject in the future!

Image from QuiteDan

GamesRadar’s Hope Bellingham tells us of a game in development using Unreal Engine 5 involving a realistic squirrel armed with a powerful handgun bigger than it is! Kind of the thinking that went behind Skatebird, but more lethal? It’s being developed by @QuiteDan.

TraynoCo at RetroRGB wrote about a SD card-based Dreamcast VMU in the works created by hardware creator Chris Diaoglou. It offers many improvements over the original unit, including expanded capacity, a rechargeable battery, and a backlight!

And Natalie Clayton at PC Gamer has a long article telling how the pandemic helped some game companies to embrace working from home.

History of Hyrule, Legend of Zelda art in print

Source: Art and Artifacts – Upload credit: Melora of

This is a collection, made by Melora, of various Japanese publications related to The Legend of Zelda and its sequels, including manuals, hint books, strategy guide and manga. There’s a lot to go through! Some of it is translated, a lot isn’t. But it’s all nice to leaf through. There’s four heads to this particular Gleeok: a home page, a blog, a Twitter feed, a Flickr image archive with tons of images, and a substantial amalgamation on the Internet Archive. If you’re as familiar with Zelda games as I am, you might not even particularly need the strategy guides translated!

I still remember the first substantial thing I read about Zelda, long ago, a review in, of all places, Games Magazine. I must have been about 13 at the time. It seemed like an awesome thing to my games-addled brain, but at that moment I didn’t even have an NES. When I first played it, it was amazing. I spent months uncovering every item and secret (finding Level 7 in the second quest was a major roadblock).

So, when I think of The Legend of Zelda, I think of challenging game play, exploring a huge world, finding deviously hidden secrets, and overcoming a formidable challenge purely by my own efforts. All of these side various comics are a bit lost of me, as it is not often that I get into the lore of the series (The Wind Waker was a major exception), but I understand that a lot of other people do, and I think that’s terrific.

I have not had that the kind of experience I got from The Legend of Zelda from many other things since the era of the NES, but two places I did get it from were Breath of the Wild, of course, and Fez. I hear Tunic‘s pretty good, I probably should look into that soon….

Some more images, from various materials related to the first game. All are from this Flickr album, and were uploaded (and many of them, scanned) by Melora of History of Hyrule:

Publication Source: Million Publishing Guide – Contributor Source: Zelda Dungeon

Publication Source: 3 Game Guide
Contributor Source: Donated by Mases of Zelda Dungeon
Originally found in the comic magazine Monthly Shonen Captain May 18, 1986, discovered thanks to
Found by kazzykazcom on Twitter, unknown origin
Source: From the The Legend of Zelda: The Mirage Castle by Akio Higuchi and Yuko Tanaka, 1986

The Indie Dev Showcase 5/18/22

The indie showcases highlight the developer submitted games and demos I play for Game-Wisdom. Please reach out if you would like me to play your game.

Commodore 64 Ads Retrospective

This is not a real ad, it’s a reimagining, but it’s pitch-perfect.

Bryan Lunduke has a collection of old ads for what is still the best-selling model of personal computer of all time, the Commodore 64. No doubt it retains that title today on the basis of a number of technicalities, like PCs are atomized among many different makes that still all run the same OS, and people not considering an iPhone to be a computer somehow.

I’d like to draw your attention in particular to the ad for GEOS on that page, the early C64 windowed operating system that breathed new life into the system. In the end it was probably doomed due to a number of factors: Apple’s head start and much better marketing, the fact GEOS had to be booted from disk while Mac OS was partly ROM-resident, and a bit of clunkiness. But you can do rather a lot with GEOS all by itself, and it comes with a capable word processor in GeoWrite. GEOS, and its weird legacy, probably deserves a post of its own eventually.

The image above is for a fake ad, but it’s based off of an iconic, and slightly disturbing, television ad from Austrailia, Keeping Up With The Commodore:

Link Roundup 5/18/22

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica tells us that estimates are that the Google Play and Apple App Store culls to take effect will each remove over half a million apps. This will result in the permanent destruction of a huge amount of software from the beginning of the smartphone era to two years before the present. It’s yet another example of how corporations are awful stewards of software preservation, drebnar! (What? Don’t editorialize? Is that how they do it on Earth?)

Dean Takahashi, writing for VentureBeat subsite GamesBeat, recently interviewed former Nintendo of Amercia president Reggie Fils-Aime about a number of topics, including recent allegations of overuse of contract employees and why they seem to have abandoned F-Zero.

More displeasure at Nintendo, Ollie Reynolds at NintendoLife mentions rumors that some at Retro Studios weren’t pleased to be brought in to work on Mario Kart 7.

Jenny Wakeman! You’d almost think her show had been given half a chance by Nickelodeon back in 2003!

C.J. Andriessen at Destructoid lists three upcoming characters for smashalike Nickelodeon’s All-Star Brawl: Jenny from My Life As A Teenage Robot, Rocko from Rocko’s Modern Life, and… Hugh Neutron, the dad of Jimmy Neutron? Well anyway, it’s another avenue to allow kids and former-kids to have their favorite characters beat the ever loving crap out of each other, as we have all dearly wished for many times!

Najam Ul Hassan of Exputer, a newcomer to our little report, notes that Elden Ring’s concurrent player base has dropped by 90% in the three months since launch, which is pretty much to be expected, given how so many games tend to launch with a burst of interest that rapidly trails off over the following months.

Researchers Bruno Sauce, Magnus Liebherr, Nicholas Judd & Torkel Klingberg, in a peer-reviewed paper for the journal Nature, say there is evidence that playing video games leads to cognitive improvement among kids of ages 9-10. It takes a lot of effort to power through the writing though, as usual for these kinds of papers.

Lauren Morton of PC Gamer begs, and I agree, to please stop making Discord servers for things that shouldn’t be Discord servers! The public web is a wonderful thing, and to block off information among insular, private communities makes it difficult both to find and preserve. Although, if you’re going to make a wiki, please consider alternatives to Fandom, as they have their own problems.

Over on Tom’s Hardware, Ash Hill writes about a “drop-in” kit to put a Raspberry Pi into an old Game Boy case!

The art in Axie Infinity looks better than the typical NFT cash grab. Maybe if they dropped the crypto angle they could make a go of it, drebnar?

In the Rich Tasty Schadenfreude department, we are alerted by Ethan Gach at Kotaku that cryptocurrency-based Pokemon clone Axie Infinity’s breeding potion currency has dropped in value to less than a penny.

Also at Kotaku, Ari Notis writes that Halo Infinite pro Tyler “Spartan” Ganza refuses to play due to mistrust of teammates, and his team, eUnited, refuses to release him from his contract. Another player lobbied to have a teammate of his that he gets on with especially well replaced, and it did not go down well with Spartan.

The gaming web has been abuzz about a demake of Portal that runs on real Nintendo 64 hardware. It’s on GitHub!

An official Sega Twitter feed has offered new footage of the upcoming Sonic Origins. Revealed: a mission mode, a drop dash move, Knuckles and Super Sonic in Sonic 1, Sonic CD gameplay, and especially interesting, a new Hidden Palace zone in Sonic 2!

Brad Linder, Liliputing: The AYA Neo line of portable gaming PCs from China is getting a new model, the AYA Neo Air.

NintendoLife’s Thomas Whitehead notes that over the past 12 months, the Switch has received twice as many first-party exclusives as either PlayStation or Xbox.

I. Bonifacic at Engadget brings news that the makers of Genshin Impact have a another free-to-play exploration game on the way, called Zenless Zone Zero. That’s certainly a title.

Andy Chalk at PC Gamer mentions that Kerbal Space Program 2 is being delayed for the fourth time, and is being handed to its third developer, Take-Two’s Intercept Games, which was formed specifically to work on it.

Jeremy Peel at Rock Paper Shotgun presents an interesting article noting that some notable Eve Online players are actually successful at real-world business.

Finally, here at the Set Side B News Desk, we don’t often get to chime in on what many would consider to be “real news,” such as the furor over the pending U.S. Supreme Court decision once again allowing states to pass laws restricting or even banning abortion. But sometimes it leaks in. Ted Litchfield at PC Gamer writes about Insomniac planning to support abortion rights with a $50,000 contribution, to be matched by their parent company Sony, but with Sony management wanting to keep the donations a secret from the public. Sony has also forbidden their fiefdoms from publicly stating an opinion on abortion rights. This is good reporting on an important issue, and I encourage you to follow the link for more information!


Franken has made the internet rounds the past few days, being praised by Derek Yu and Video Game Dunkey. I was pointed to it by our own Kent Drebnar, the one-celled gaming organism who does news posts for us. It’s a free and short and free JRPG styled thing up on It’s inspired by Final Fantasy VI, For The Frog The Bell Tolls, Moon, and Grow RPG! It’s made with OHRRPGCE, itself a fun, quirky and free RPG creation program.


It’s not really so much as game as a humor delivery mechanism and strongly-guided system of battles. There’s only one choice for actions throughout all the fights, but it’s more of a silly and good-hearted story that you experience through a Dragon Quest play system. It reminds me a lot of another JRPG homage for 3DS and Switch, Fairune, although without its sometimes maddening secret-finding, and with lots of quirky characters, which feel like they were imported from Undertale.

It’s only about an hour long, and did I mention it’s free, so I figure it’s well worth your time and money!

Trek to Yomi Review

Trek to Yomi just came out a few weeks ago and I went through it on stream, and while it certainly had style, the substance was lacking.

Around The Wordle In 60 Games

As everyone surely knows by now, in Wordle, you use Mastermind-style clues to narrow down and guess a five-letter word. You get six guesses, but all your guesses must be actual words. There’s a new puzzle every day, but only one. It tracks streaks and win percentages. It became an internet sensation, because of one or more of the following things: it’s fun, it’s simple to understand, it’s a challenge but not hugely difficult, it lets you easily share your victory without giving away the answer, it usually gives you a nice compliment when you solve it, and, especially, it’s completely free and unencumbered by ads, app stores, upsell, or rent-seeking of any kind.

Its creator Josh Wardle made Wordle (hence the name) for his friends to play, but news quickly spread, a lonely remaining example of the good kind of internet virality, the kind that hasn’t been pressed into the service of racism and tyrants. Wordle is so popular that the New York Times bought it from its creator for an amount “in the low six figures.” We’re not sure why they bought it unless they plan to make it a paid service someday, an imposition that its creator had promised would never happen. Maybe once the clamor has died down. For the moment, at least, it remains free.

Now, one of the oldest trends in computer gaming is to take a thing really popular at the moment and to clone it, to some degree of exactitude. A list of things this has happened to includes Pong, Breakout, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Wizardry, Ultima, Zork, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, SimCity, Myst, Super Mario 64, Everquest, Minecraft, Flappy Bird, and Undertale, among others.

So it has happened, is happening, and shall continue, for a while, to happen with Wordle. Wordle and its progeny are popular enough that it’s become one of those subgenres of internet article, to round up a bunch of Wordle-inspired things and present them, all in a bid to gain some of that sweet Google-juice.

Well, never let it be said that we here at Set Side B aren’t immune to a bit of audience pandering! Here are the best of the Wordle-likes, that I have found at least.


These are Wordle, but moredle.


Dordle is two games of Wordle at once. You get seven guesses. Your guesses go into both puzzles. Its creator is on Twitter, they’re cool!

Not enough? Tridle is three games of Wordle at once; you get eight guesses.

You want still more? Sure, we’re all adults here. Quordle is four games of Wordle at once; you get nine guesses. You’ve probably picked up on the pattern here by now.

Beyond that? Absolutely, why should we be bound by the rules of the past? Octordle is eight games of Wordle at once, with 13 guesses.

You’re not yet satisfied? So we stray still further from divine grace. Okay, then, Sedecordle is 16 games of Wordle at once, with 21 guesses.

Even more? Let the angels weep then. Duotrigordle is 32 games of Wordle at once, with 37 guesses.

What? More, even than that? Why not, let’s abandon all the laws of heaven and earth. Sexaginta-Quattordle is 64 games of Wordle at once. It’s slightly more forgiving than the other versions, giving you 70 guesses instead of 69. Once you get to this scale, Wordle’s whole nature changes. After you use a couple of spare guesses to get some info about the words en masse, your aim is to try to correctly guess one word per turn, and use the information revealed by those guesses to solve the others.


This brings us to Kilordle, 1,000 games of Wordle at once, with 1,005 guesses. This may sound just like an exercise in extremity, but some care was put into it: the puzzles you’re closest to finishing are sorted to the top, and solved ones are removed entirely. Also, you can get more than one word on a guess, since you’re awarded credit for words you have all green letters for. When you get near the end and single guesses can eliminate 20 words or more, it almost feels like a clicker game. When playing in bulk like this, your strategy tends to change to the general case: using every letter in every position in as few moves as possible. I’ve seen someone mention winning in as few as 75 moves this way, and a computer program probably could do it in even less, but writing software to play Wordle for you is discarding one of its chief virtues: that you don’t have to think too hard about it.

The Case of n=1

If you just want more than the daily Wordle, Wordle Unlimited (which I’m amazed hasn’t had its name changed) can provide that, as can WordPlay, and Word Master, and

There used to be at least two sites that let you play past Wordle puzzles, but the New York Times requested they be taken down when they gained ownership of the original game and name. Boo, hiss!

If you want to play locally at a command-line, and have one of a couple of scripting languages installed, you can try wordle in Ruby or wordle-cli in Python.


But what if you want to play in Urdu? Urdle. Chinese? This. Swedish. French. Or, without using the letter E. Or maybe one where the answers are all ludicrous misspellings of the word HORSE.

If you’re having trouble with basic Wordle, the New York Times has a bot that will look at your previous games and offer advice.


These are Wordle, but changed, or with a special focus.

Hello Wordl lets you decide how many letters are in the answer. The daily game decides the number of letters for you.

Hurdle is a series of five Wordle puzzles. When you guess the answer to one, it becomes the first guess of the next. For the last puzzle, all four previous answers are automatically your first guesses, giving you two tries left.

Star Wordle‘s answers have a Star Wars theme, but you can still guess normal words to help with narrowing it down. Another version of the concept is SWordle. Along these lines is Lordle of the Rings. Wizarding Wordle, to Harry Potter.

Taylordle answers all refer to Taylor Swift in some way. Byrdle answers all relate to choral music. Gordle answers are all hockey players. Basketle answers are basketball players. Bikle, for cyclists.

Queerdle answers are from four to eight letters and are always LGBTQ+-related; guesses can be any word of the answer’s size. Phoodle has food and food-related answers, but guesses can be normal words. Lewdle has crude answers, and by default only accepts crude guesses, although this can be disabled. Similar to that is Sweardle.

Squabble is online-based battle royale multiplayer Wordle, where correct guesses become attacks against other players, and incorrect ones cause you damage.

Absurdle changes the answer behind the scenes to be as difficult as possible. You still only get six guesses. Another version of the idea, which lets you decide on the word length, is Evil Wordle. Adverswordle plays a bit like that, but with the computer guessing and you giving it clues to matching a secret word you come up with, and can change if you want, so long as you don’t contradict yourself or make it impossible.

Luckle changes the answer behind the scenes to be as easy as possible. You get six guesses, but they won’t matter.

And now, it falls to my weary shoulders to inform you of the existence of Letterle. At least you get 26 guesses.


Like Wordle, but with extra stuff added.

Crosswordle gives you two words, that are related and cross at some point.

Waffle is Wordle, but with a grid of six words, and instead of guessing on a blank board, all the letters are given, but scrambled. A move consists of swapping two letters. You get 15 swaps; a perfect score is 10 swaps.

Scrabwordle gives you fewer guesses (depending on player-selected difficulty), but gives the secret word’s Scrabble score as a hint.

Squardle… okay, this is going to require some explanation. Squardle sets aside one of Wordle’s chief virtues, simplicity. It’s still fun, but a subtly different kind of fun. It has a grid like Waffle (see image of solved game to the right). You make guesses, but in turns, and along two lines at once: your first guess is along the top row and left column (DWELL and DROSS in the image). You always guess the same word in both. You’ll get clues along both lines based on your guesses (the small letters in the image, which accumulate as you guess). Yellow letters mean the letter can be found somewhere along the same row, and red letters are along the columns. Orange letters mean one of that letter can be found both vertically and horizontally, along both the row and column. Green letters are in the right place, as in Wordle. Notably black letters, the B and N in the shown puzzle, won’t be found anywhere, even in other words.

After you make your first guess, the second guess works the same way, but through the vertical and horizontal center (EVICT and OPIUM here), and the third guess hits the right-most column and bottom row (LEMUR and SATYR). After that, the guesses cycle through these three sets of positions.

Because of the increased complexity and your inability to make a guess over the whole puzzle at once, Squardle gives you ten guesses, you get an extra guess every time you get a word right, for up to 15 guesses in all, and, if you completely solve both the words at a given row/column pair, it’ll be skipped in rotation for the rest of the puzzle. If your head is swimming after all of that don’t feel bad, it’s definitely more complicated than Wordle, and it demands more from you. But, once you get underway, with careful thought the puzzle is still doable. For those who master it, there is a more difficult version, Weekly Squardle, with a total of ten words and starting with only six guesses.


Not really like Wordle at all, but they still have daily puzzles.

Heardle challenges you to guess songs from a snippet. With each wrong answer the snipped gets longer. Those like me will be hopelessly lost.

Worldle has you guessing a nation by its shape; the hints from incorrect guesses take the form of facts about the nation. Similar to that is Globle. And, down in Flaggle Rock, you guess the flags of countries and territories.

Who Are Ya? is a similar concept, but with portraits of football (a.k.a. soccer) players.

Framed asks you to guess a movie from stills, doled out one per guess.

Mathdle wants you to complete arithmetic number sentences. Nerdle is similar, as is Mathler. There is also Primle, where you have to guess a prime number. Also, Primel.

Subwaydle is of interest mostly to New Yorkers, challenging you guess a route between two given subway stations. MTRdle is the same, but for Hong Kong’s subway system.

Poeltl is basketball players again, but with game-related clues instead of the usual green/yellow/white letters.

Semantle tells you how close semantically, as judged by an algorithm, your guess is to the hidden word. There is no guess limit, but it’s very challenging, and guess counts of over 100 are frequent. Make sure you read the directions, as you might not be prepared for what semantic closeness means. Pimantle is the same idea, but with a cool visualization.

Redactle picks one of the top 10,000 most-notable Wikipedia pages, blacks out all but the most common words, and reveals them as you guess what they are. You win when you uncover every word in the page title. Like with Semantle, you aren’t limited in guesses but it’s still very hard. If the answer is outside your interests, you might end up making 200 guesses or more. This is one of those games where there’s a bit more to it than you might expect: the articles are in a monospace font, so you can reliably tell how long the blanked-out words are.

It predates Wordle so it’s not really inspired by it, but if you have a New York Times subscription you can play Spelling Bee, which asks you to come up with as many words from a set of seven letters as you can, provided they all contain a given key letter. You get more points for longer words, and a rating based on what proportion of that day’s maximum score you earn.

Is all this not enough? Is your lust not sated? This seems to be a canonical list of Wordle deviations, divergences, and disparities. And here is a chart to mark our journey together:


Ancient History

Wordle 1.0

Did you know that wordle was once a term for a kind of word cloud, created by Jonathan Feinberg? There was a and everything! It had a Metafilter post in 2008! It had a trademarked name! It was popular!

No one seems to remember it any more. Its site is dead. It was last seen alive in 2020. Finding out more is very difficult now because of the search static produced by its massively popular successor.

The existence and forgetting of first-Wordle should serve to remind us all: Internet fame is beyond fleeting. Wordle is known and beloved now, and since it’s owned by the New York Times is probably on track to staid, Jumble-like ubiquity. But these variants are not going to be around forever. Enjoy them while you can, for it’s just a matter of time before their domains all become just another tool in some nefarious SEO outfit’s Google-gaming schemes.

Link Roundup 5/16/22

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter reports the most popular Nintendo franchises as decided by poll among Japanese fans, and RPG Fan has the English translation. The top three are Pokemon (6,610 votes), followed by The Legend of Zelda (5,005) and Kirby (4,561). There are some upsets on the list: Super Mario is at 7th!

Chris Moyse at Destructoid tells of changes Capcom has made to their previous, fairly draconian proposed rules for licensing Street Fighter to tournaments. While these are much improved, there are still potential issues for smaller tournaments.

Bryant Francis at Game Developer brings news that the programmer of Atari 2600 title Wabbit has finally been tracked down! She was Van Mai, a Vietnamese refugee now living in Texas! Wabbit is notable for being the first console game to have a female protagonist. This news made it out as far as Metafilter!

Ray Barnholt on Twitter warns us that the next game to come in the Arcade Archives is Namco’s infamous The Tower of Druaga, one of the most infamously and purposely obtuse games ever made!

Chris Carter, also at Destructoid, offers strategies for getting around the impending cessation of funds transfers into 3DS and Wii U eShops: you can get cash into the system using a Switch, or use prepaid cards!

Image from Gamespot

Chris also tells us that the “cloud” versions of Kingdom Hearts made for the Switch will offer warnings at times when server congestion may make the game unplayable. This reporter wonders how well an action-RPG like Kingdom Hearts would work over the cloud, but then, the latency from our base out in deep dark space would be prohibitive anyway.

Over at Kotaku, Ethan Gach fills us in on a lawsuit accusing Wata Games, a grader of “collectable” games, of manipulating prices. A market full of hordes of uncritical participants being vulnerable to manipulation, who would have thought? Answer: a lot of people desperately pushing cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Maybe this will finally make it affordable to buy retro games again, but I’m not getting my hopes up, drebnar.

Steven Weber of informs us of the top five most-downloaded MMORPGs on Google Play. In brief: Black Desert Mobile, Avabel Online, School of Chaos Online, Toram Online, and Sky Children Of The Light. In the titles of MMORPGs may be the last remaining places on the internet where the word “online” is used.

Multiple sources have reported that the podcast Fragments of Silicon (which doesn’t appear to be so much a podcast as a Twitch stream nowadays) talked with Tantalus, who are porting The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to the Nintendo Switch, about the challenges they’re facing with that process. At press time there doesn’t seem to be a direct link to the content; the link supplied is to Nintendo Everything.

Jody MacGregor at PC Gamer: Many on the gaming web have been criticizing at Activison/Blizzard’s “diversity space tool,” enough so that the makers of Overwatch are stating plainly that they didn’t use it.

Some news about that most tone-deaf of current game publishers and that’s saying something: Konami. Rich Stanton at PC Gamer tells us that they’ve been doing the ol’ DMCA Shuffle regarding allegedly-leaked images from a new Silent Hill game, essentially proving they’re real. By the way, here’s your regular reminder that the DMCA is terrible law that has a whole host of problems.

Coming to the inside of our virtual mouths. JUST WHAT WE ALWAYS WANTED.

And, finally, Ryan Dinsdale at IGN tells us that scientists looking to improve VR equipment are working on “mouth haptics” that will allow us to experience what it’s like to have, in our mouths, spiders.


This is a part of Snow Crash I don’t quite remember. I believe they may have been misled as to the importance of simulated mouth arachnids due to the statistical influence of Spiders Georg. So far these actual scientists’ experiments have only gone as far as the Meta Quest, making this the first hilarious thing about Meta that doesn’t have Mark Zuckerberg to blame for it.