Sundry Sunday: The President’s Story

Sundry Sunday is our weekly feature of fun gaming culture finds and videos, from across the years and even decades.

Youtube animator Wooden Turtle has done Pikmin animations before, and we’ve linked some of them here: The Groovy Long Legs Experience, and Cooking With Louie #1 and #2. They’re fun riffs on Pikmin’s lore and backstory, and this week’s video is another of those.

In Pikmin, the game’s backstory was communicated mostly through Olimar’s Log, which was a situational message given at the end of each game day that reminded and expanded on its events. Pikmin 2 kept the idea but changed the messages to emails from Olimar’s employer, called Sacho. In the opening, it’s revealed that the freight company that he owned and Olimar works for undertook a gigantic debt due to the loss of a cargo of highly-expensive Pikpik carrots that he was responsible for. (To find out what happened to them, you have to finish Pikmin 2 to 100% completion.)

In Pikmin, you have a strict 30 day time limit to get enough parts of your ship to return home. Pikmin 2 has no time limit. You can take as many days as you want to collect treasures, and the number of days it requires is more like a score. To keep the pressure on the player, as the days reel off, you receive a series of increasingly frantic email messages from Sacho, who as it turns out unwisely covered the debt with an organization called “All-Consuming Black Hole Loan Sharks.” Their means to insure repayment are ruthless, but in fairness to them, you should know what you’re getting into from their name.

Sacho is forced to go on the lam to escape their wrath, and for a time lives beneath a bridge and befriends the animals there. But you don’t need me to tell you of those events: they’re animated in Wooden Turtle’s latest production! It’s eight minutes long:

Gamefinds: Nip For Speed

We love it when we find weird and unique indie games to tell you all about! Our alien friends to the left herald these occasions.

From’s Youtube account, this barely qualifies as a game, but it’s funny. Surreal. Absurd. Bizarre. But mostly funny. It’s Nip For Speed, and it’s from knackelibang.

You’re riding in a car with an orange cat behind the wheel. Not a cartoony cat, a realistic cat, or at least its low-poly model is kind of realistic. It doesn’t act, or talk, much like a real cat though. There’s also a dog involved.

Content warning: the cat does meet its end, but in a much more cartoony way than the cat’s model. It probably shouldn’t have been behind the wheel anyway.

Nip For Speed (, Web and Windows, $0)


GeoCities has been gone for fifteen years now, about as long as it was alive, and it’s still sorely missed. It was shut down by Yahoo, which seems to exist purely to kill good things during downturns. (See also: Yahoo Directory.) It’s just a “brand” now; the company formerly known as that changed its name to “Altaba,” and then itself died.

GeoCities was a place where anyone could make a static website, for free (although with frames and ads). This isn’t the place to recount the full story, but at the time it had kind of a reputation. Since anyone could make a site there, and having a site was a big thing in those heady early World Wide Web days, a lot of people did make them. It was their first site in a lot of cases; in many cases, it was their only site. And before social media and Google’s decay, you could even reasonably expect to find GeoCities sites, if they were good.

So a lot of web newbies made sites, and they perpetrated all kinds of design atrocities in the process. Back then we rolled our eyes and held our noses, but now that time is remembered with fondness.

There are multiple places where you can go back and explore old GeoCities sites, although with varying degrees of stability. Try checking Restorativland or Oocities. Or the Internet Archive’s GeoCities collection.

One of the most egregious of the many sins made by GeoCities users was the overuse of animated GIFs. GIFs themselves are their own throwback to the early era, and actually predate the World Wide Web. The image format was created at Compuserve in 1987, while the first web browser was released on Christmas Day, 1990. Now Compuserve is long gone, although their website, amazingly, is still up, offering an early 2000’s style web portal experience, and while it’s likely no one human is curating its links, some one, or thing, is still updating its copyright date.

I seem to be discursing a lot today, but I am actually closing in on today’s true subject, just with a flight plan best described as a wide, lazy spiral. Here we go. GIFs, that relic of ancient Compuserve, once the subject of an infamous software patent owned by even older pre-web tech company Unisys that threatened to strike the format from the internet, is the only thing of Compuserve that really thrives today.

There are other animation file formats. There’s MP4 and its progeny, of course. Google has a version of webp that has animation, but people don’t trust Google so much anymore. GIFs are also limited: it’s an indexed graphics format that maxes out at 256 colors. But there are many ways to make them, all the major browsers support them, many social media sites support them, and they doesn’t have Google’s sterile, chlorine-like stink about them, so they survive. Improbably, awesomely, people still make, use and view GIFs today.

Google Meetup(?)’s message input bar with GIF button
Discord’s message input bar with GIF button

Google Meetup, or whatever the hell they call it now, has an interface for searching for GIFs to use, and Discord does too. There’s a site, the slightly-incorrectly named GIPHY, that hosts them and lets you search for them. Arguably GIFs are more popular than ever. But the acknowledged Golden (well, maybe Tarnished Bronze) Age of GIFs was the Geocitiene Era.

Well, now the Internet Archive has an amusingly-styled site, GifCities, where you can search through an archives of the GeoCities site collection.

Comic Sans! A spinning rendered dollar sign! Party like it’s 200X!

It doesn’t seem to have a lot to go by when doing its text search? My “Nethack” search only turned up two GIFs, both found from the term’s inclusion in their origin URLs. These are them:

I don’t get that eye one, but the second one’s kind of snazzy, if not really that useful. Still-someone worked to construct each of them, and I like that their work is commemorated, and even available for others to use today. Most of the Old Web, by weight, is lost now, so let’s cherish what remains.

Dread Templar and HROT Reviews

For this double indie game review, I’m taking a look at Dread Templar and HROT, both played with press keys provided by the developers.

0:00 Intro
00:17 Dread Templar
4:38 HROT

Shiren 6 Main Dungeon Completion

Whew! At around 3:30 AM last night, I finally was able to play Shiren the Wanderer 6: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island. Five hours later I finished it on my first attempt, with no deaths. I had six Revival Herbs in inventory at the end. (There is a story battle against the boss at the beginning that you’re supposed to lose. I don’t know, maybe there’s a tricky way to finish it? I gave it a good try.)

I did this on my rarely-used Twitch channel. I’ve put the recordings of the play in a video collection, which you can see here.

I’m not going to say this means the game is easy. I can finish Super Famicom Shiren on one try too. I’ve been playing roguelikes for, oooh, over 30 years now? Shiren 6 falls a lot closer to the first Shiren games than Shiren 4 and 5, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I plan on written a full review later, after I’ve recovered from staying up all night playing this game.

I’m sorry that this isn’t more generally interesting, but I’m pretty jazzed!

How To Play Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On

Yeah, it’s another Youtube video, but there’s an important difference this time: I made it myself. It’s seven minutes long.

I’m new at this kind of editing, and I spent a lot of effort trying to give viewers enough time to read all the text, but I failed somewhat in that regard. I suggest pausing the video if you need to catch up. It’s about the recently released Switch version of Pocket Card Jockey, a horse racing and breeding simulation that search-and-replaced all the fiddly HORSE RIDING parts with CARD GAME: a form of Solitaire called Golf, a.k.a. One Foundation.

Yeah, I’m new at this kind of editing. It was good practice though!

Game Freak has mostly had its legacy taken up by The House that Pikachu built, Pokèmon. Pokè this and Pokè that. But they had a history before they made their absurdly popular critter catching/fighting RPG, beginning as an obscure  Japanese fanzine from 1983, and they sometimes publish a game that has nothing to do with their monstrous progeny. The best known of these is probably the Gameboy Advance game Drill Dozer, but lately they’ve sallied forth into mobile gaming with a title called, in English, Pocket Card Jockey. It got a 3DS port beloved of the few that tried it, and now an update of that is on the Switch ($15). It seems a bit easier now, but it’s still wonderful.

I’ve seen Pocket Card Jockey described as not complicated, and rarely do I see a take that I disagree with more. Pocket Card Jockey is very complicated, each horse has almost a dozen characteristics to be cognizant of, each race is full of tension, and success in G-I (the hardest type) of races usually comes through executing a good strategy. I’ve also seen people say that it must have been easy to make, and I disagree with that assumption too: I think it must have been terribly difficult to construct, and most of that difficulty was in design and playtesting. Games like this don’t just happen, not if they’re any good, and Pocket Card Jockey is good.

Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On has an extensive tutorial, with three whole practice races, but there’s still a lot to learn. That’s why I made this video, to try to infect you with some of my own 100-level enthusiasm for it. I know of few games that work better in practice. You should give it a try.