Sundry Sunday: Buggy Saints Row: The Musical

Oh this one goes way, way back. Since Saints Row is back in the news….

Back after the release of the first Saints Row game, long before the series went bonkers gonzo crazy-go-nuts and then got rebooted, it was really buggy. So buggy that longtime internet person Cabel Sasser (who helped make the Playdate and helped publish Untitled Goose Game) made a video about it with catchy music. Enjoy!

Indie Game Showcase 8/27/22

The indie showcases are all about the developer submitted games and demos we play from indie devs. If you would like to submit a game for a future piece, please get in touch.

Romhack: Elvira’s Monster Party

Someone worked hard to make that pixel art.

Most, maybe like 90%, of romhacks are pretty dumb. Of the remaining 10%, nine out of ten are somewhat intersting. Then you have that last percentile that achieves greatness. The jury is out, but this one could be in that category.

This hack changes the cult NES classic Monster Party and repurposes it as an episode of Elvira’s B-movie show! It also changes game graphics to make the main character Elvira, and many of the bosses and their text to make them into classic horror movie monsters. It seems like it should be worth a look from that pixel art image of Elvira alone.

Beyond that, the patch file’s ZIP has some other bits of artwork in it, including a poster, and box art:

I should point out that this is not actually a hack of the release version of Monster Party, but of the prototype of the Japanese version that showed up a few years ago. So you’ll have to hunt that down if you want to try it. And it is worth noting that that version had been held by some time by collectors who were unwilling to let it be dumped. So the construction of this particle of greatness was effectively blocked for an age by their greed. Please remember that.

In monster form, Elvira’s black gown switches to something rather more revealing, which is kind of keeping in character honestly.
Monster Party’s collection of B-movie goofballs have been replaced, with a new series of B-movie goofballs. I love the Statue of Liberty’s face in the background.

One of the folk responsible for this patch is Garrett Gilchrist (Twitter), who as it turns out was also one of the people behind the Raggedy Ann and Andy patch we reported on a few weeks ago. They’ve made a number of other patches hosted on Romhacking.net that, if you have an interest in such things, you may want to take a look at. Another person who helped in the making of Elvira’s Monster Party, through research, is Rani Baker, who has a Ko-Fi if you’d like to throw them a dollar or two.

It wouldn’t be Elvira without a heaping helping of playful innuendo.

Elvira’s Monster Party, at romhacking.net (via Frank Cifaldi’s Twitter feed)

Replay Burners: Bubble Bobble True Ending

Replay Burners, a Japanese-language YouTube channel that hosts runs of various well-played games, especially arcade games, is a true gem. Unlike other channels like MamePlayer, World of Longplays, or (especially) Old Classic Retro Gaming, the plays on Retro Burners are done without invincibility cheats, save states, or tool assistance, all these things I find greatly annoying. A Replay Burners playthrough is played as it would have in a real arcade, which is what makes it interesting to me: you aren’t watching a hypothetical run by someone with theoretical infinite reflexes, or someone who can just throw themselves at enemies without fear. You’re watching someone who has developed real strategies approach the game in realistic ways, and frequently the difference is huge.

That is what makes this one (well, two) credit playthrough of Bubble Bobble good watching. It’s not that they play “perfectly,” they lose their first life on Level 58 and go on to lose a number more. But they’re not just playing for survival but for score, a mode of play often neglected in this era of cheap points and speedrun celebrity. They play through every level: they don’t skip levels with umbrellas or the warp door on Level 50, even though they’re eligible for it.

They do use a couple of codes, but the great difficulty of Bubble Bobble is such that one can hardly begrudge them that. One of them, to play “Super” mode, actually makes the game much harder in the early going, and is necessary anyway to get the best ending. The total length is 62 minutes, but of course you can skip ahead if you just want to see the end. Most of the game is solo, but they bring in a second player at the very end since it’s required for the best ending.

YouTube, Replay Burners: 1986 [60fps] Bubble Bobble True Ending ALL

Video: tom7’s Harder Drives

tom7, aka suckerpinch on YouTube, is a freaking genius. I don’t believe in geniuses, but he is a strong counter-argument, I will admit.

His modus operandi is to take some absurd premise and carry it to its logical conclusion, usually using some form of technology along the way. He then makes a video about it. Sometimes the video is in connection with a paper he’s written for SIGBOVIK, which is an entire oil tanker full of worms that I really don’t want to get into here, suffice to say it’s hosted on the site of the Association for Computational Heresy.

The PDF of their 300-page record of proceedings calls itself, “The fifteenth annual intercalary robot dance party in celebration of workshop on symposium about 26th birthdays; in particular, that of harry q. bovik,” about which all I can say, honestly, is, woof. I encourage you to go to that side and read, or at least try to read, some of their papers. You will come to feel like a complete imbecile, but you’ll probably be entertained.

AnYwAy. This post isn’t about SIGBOVIK but about tom7. The post above is about his questionable quest to construct mass storage devices out of unlikely things, like masses of Nintendo Tetris emulators, or a mass of used COVID tests. In the past he’s done fascinatingly-insane videos on bad chess algorithms, generalizing the concepts of uppercase and lowercase, created a number of weird bikes, or (to stick with the blog’s theme) teaching a computer to play Super Mario Bros. in a fairly silly way, which at least will teach you what lexicographical ordering means.

Found via a Metafilter post from user zengargoyle.

Indie Stream Showcase 8/24/22

Another week means even more indie games to showcase from my weekly streams.

Games featured:

  • 0:00 Affogato
  • 47:12 Rogue Genesia
  • 1:23:34 City Limits
  • 1:28:00 The God Unit
  • 1:49:13 Redshot
  • 2:20:32 Combo Card Clashers

K.C. Munchkin for Commodore 64

The always great Indie Retro News mentions, from Pretzel Logic, a Commodore port of one of the best Odyssey 2 games, K.C. Munchkin (itch.io, $0)!

Why is this interesting? The machinations of the old old days of video games are so easily forgotten now. K.C. Munchkin was a big seller for the underdog in the second-generation video game sweepstakes, but was taken off the market by court order way back then for being too similar to Pac-Man. Although Magnavox managed to come back a bit with sequel K.C.’s Krazy Chase, they remained a distant third in the market.

The C64 version has multiple modes, including a random maze mode and editor like the original, also has an arcade mode with 96 mazes!

News 8/23/22: Falcom, DLC, Playing Cards, Shipping

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

News posts has been light lately. I’ve been worried I’ve been starting to congeal. Even alien blob creatures get older. Well let’s go with what we have–

Kerry Brunskill at PC Gamer breaks the news about Startrader, a shmup made by Falcom for the PC 98. Falcom was mostly known for its classic and unique RPGs, while the PC 98 was mostly known for its erotic anime-styled games that could somehow make full-color pictures (yes, often of naked women) often with only 16 colors and a whole lot of dithering. Startrader went against both the RPG and eroge trends, but still managed to host some amazing artwork.

How did they do that in 16 colors?

At NintendoLife, Kate Gray suggests 3DS and Wii U DLC you should get, if you can, before their eShops shut down. Games discussed include Fantasy Life, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice and Dual Destinies, the many songs of Threatrhythm Final Fantasy and its Curtain Call sequel, and Fire Emblem Fates.

Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett brings us a sad story of a couple of packs of Nintendo playing cards from the 50s, that were bought at auction but, once opened, turned out to have been ruined by age. The arrow of time is one-way, sad to say. Ow, my nucleus!

And it’s not game related, but a friend-of-the-blog suggests, from Benj Edwards at How-To Geek, this guide for shipping fragile electronics.

Hand-drawn Map of The Legend of Zelda

It’s another hand-drawn map of The Legend of Zelda from a guidebook, again from History of Hyrule! It was made by Takako Toshima and published in Newtype magazine in Japan.

Along these lines, it’s a good time to revisit Mapstalgia, a defunct blog made by Josh Millard (cortex from Metafilter), that’s filled with player-made maps of this sort!

Indie Game Showcase 8/22/2022

The weekly indie game showcase highlights the many developer-submitted games and demos we play here. If you would like to submit a game for a future piece, please reach out.

0:00 Trinity Archetype

2:13 Green With Energy

4:19 Super Grave Snatchers

6:37 The Lightbringer

9:13 Happenlance

10:28 Timemelters

Video: Why Was 3D Pinball Removed From Windows Vista?

I’ve mentioned the work of NCommander before, when I posted a link to his video about getting DOOM to run on an IBM RS/6000.

Another interesting game-related video he’s made is about the beloved old pinball game that was included with Windows during the XP days, but vanished with Vista. The game’s exclusion was the subject of a blog post by former Microsoft developer Raymond Chen, who mentioned that he had trouble getting the game to work correctly under 64-bit Windows. The ball kept clipping through objects, and sometimes falling through the plunger and out of the table. NCommander’s examination indicates that the problem was probably related to floating point precision as Chen had said, but that the cause was probably more complicated than that, and may have had to do with issues getting the game to run correctly on Intel’s ill-fated Itanium architecture, their first attempt at a 64-bit processor.

NCommander’s explorations were made possible by the discovery that, although there was no way to get the installer to offer it, the 3D Pinball game files are on the CD for the various editions of XP for Itanium. For more information, I refer you to the video, embedded above.

Notably, Chen has responded to NCommander’s video with more details about the game’s removal, which make the story even more interesting, bringing in Alpha AXP, a second obscure 64-bit architecture that could run Windows XP.

It should be said that all of this is much more technical than the usual post here. Please don’t freak out too badly if this makes little or no sense to you. We’ll have something marginally more comprehensible for you tomorrow.