Sundry Sunday is our weekly feature of fun gaming culture finds and videos, from across the years and even decades.
We linked a couple of weeks back to the Pirhana Plants on Parade music in an early level of Super Mario Wonder. Here are well-written and executed fan-made lyrics for the song, presented along with the level. It reads and sounds like something Nintendo’s own localizers might have made! Please enjoy:
Each showcase highlights the many indie games we play on the stream here, if you would like to submit a game for a future video and stream please reach out. All games shown are either press key submissions or demos.
Owner of Game Wisdom with more than a decade of experience writing and talking about game design and the industry. I’m also the author of the “Game Design Deep Dive” series and “20 Essential Games to Study”
Few games for the NES have been better treated by hindsight than Friday the 13th. At the time it was regarded as a terrible game with difficult play and nearly impossible to win.
But even then there were things about it that indicated that there might be a little more going on then than was first apparent. Publisher LJN was known for making terrible games, but they outsourced their work to different companies that often weren’t actually that bad, just given weird properties for video games (The Karate Kid? Jaws? T&C Surf Designs??) and approaching them with experimental gameplay. And for their part, all of LJN’s games are technically sound, and manage to hit their 60fps frame rate targets, which is much more than you can say for many other NES games, including some from big manufacturers like Capcom, like Ghosts & Goblins and 1942, both implemented by Micronics, or Strider, which as we’ve noted before is a mess.
It has come time, as we all knew it must, for Jeremy Parish to collide with Jason’s axe, and as befits the game’s redemption, his video is divided in half, first about its reception at the time, then later now that it’s appreciated a little better. Just don’t turn it off after the 8 minute mark, there’s still more than half of it to go!
Folder Dungeon, on itch.io, is a short and not-too-difficult game where an adventuring cursor has to dig through the folder structure of a hard drive to find an important file. Each window is a room of the dungeon; entering a Door folder takes you to another room down. You can go back the way you came using the back arrow icon at the bottom of the window.
In addition to doors, rooms can contain items, which can be picked up by clicking on them. Gold is among the items, the value of the coin indicated by a number. Some items cost money; if they do, they’ll have a coin and a number on the item. Some items, notably Health Potions and Ice Cream, take affect immediately; they never enter your inventory, but work immediately on your stats whether you needed it or not.
And, some of the things in rooms are monsters. If you do something other than attack a monster by clicking on it, then every monster in the room has a percentage chance to attack you; if you attack a monster, then it always counter-attacks if it survived the attack, but other monsters in the room don’t get the chance to attack.
Somewhere in each folder structure is an Exit icon. When you find it, you can only enter it once all the monsters in its room have been defeated. You don’t have to defeat all the monsters in a room to leave it, but it does give the monsters in the room a chance to attack you.
The most interesting play mechanic is, every action you take generates “heat.” You can only take so much heat. If heat reaches your maximum capacity, you take one damage per action until you leave the level (which resets heat to 0) or you lower your heat by collecting an Ice Cream.
Note, as you can see in the above screenshot, there’s a display bug in the current version that cuts off the left and right sides of the screen. Or is it a bug? It didn’t actually prevent me from playing? Maybe it’s an aesthetic choice? Anyway, I managed to finish the game on my first attempt, but it was close.
The replacement for the old dev/null tournament, the November Nethack Tournament is on! Get yer armor and weapons, read your spellbooks and start testing those items! Maybe you’ll find a Wand of Wishing on the first floor? Probably not, but there’s all kinds of crazy D&D-ish adventures to be had this month, so get ‘hacking!
Not to keep banging the drum about the new Mario game, but there are a number of what we might call “music levels” in the game, and a couple in particular fit in with the spirit of the day. Here they are: Pumpkin Party and A Night At Boo’s Opera (length: 3 minutes). This is an edited-down version of a 28-minute compilation of all of the game’s music sequences, on Youtube.
Codes are largely a forgotten element of video gaming. They started out as debug features that didn’t get removed before release, then they became easter eggs to reveal to favored players, ways to dispense unlockables, ways to provide extra difficulty balancing, and even publicity tools, before the age of DLC gave developers a way to profit off of bonus features. Why have players enter up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right when you could just sell them play advantages outright. I’m simplifying the situation a bit, sure, but I’m not simplifying by much.
Codes still exist, once in a while, but it seems like they’ve gone back to being development aids. One of them crept into New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but only becomes usable if the game crashes. The code is: Home, Minus, Plus, Minus, Plus, 1, 2, 1, 2, A. It brings up a scrollable register dump and stack trace, and other assorted information. It doesn’t let you continue playing. For players, it’s just a curiosity, but it’s a thing that is interesting.