“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter
Graham Smith at Rock Paper Shotgun tells about the return of Re-Volt, an RC Car racing game from the Dreamcast age that many regarded as fairly lackluster, but has nonetheless gathered a strong fanbase. It’s for sale again on Steam and GOG. While the game itself isn’t terrific as it is, fan-made mods that improve it require ownership of the original to function.
At GamesRadar (warning: will harass you to subscribe to their newsletter), Dustin Bailey (which may be a fun pseudonym) lets us know that the Coconut Mall reprise track from the DLC of Mario Kart 8 has been “improved,” in that the cars in the parking lot at the end of it now drive around getting in your way like they did back in the Wii version, and in fact are now even more annoying, doing pointless doughnuts in the lot just to piss you off. And yet, the drivers are Shy Guys, not the system Miis that drove the cars in the original, which in my bulbous eyes is still a downgrade.
Jesse Belinsky at The Verge contributes a personal essay about how the Animal Crossing series helped them explore their gender. They especially note how the pandemic gave them the push they needed, an event which will be remembered for years to come as a pivotal moment in time, I think at least.
In sillier news, at the Hollywood Reporter, Mia Galuppo tells us that Bandai Namco is trying to get a Pac-Man movie made. Pac-Man’s relationship with media has been a strange journey. In Japan it originally didn’t do especially well, but in the U.S. it quickly set arcade cabinet sales records, partly due to the stewardship and marketing acumen of U.S. licensee Bally-Midway. They commissioned several sequels that were unauthorized by original creator Namco, most of which have been stricken from the records, except, for a time, Ms. Pac-Man, created by GCC as a hack of the original game that would go on to eventually surpass it in lifetime sales. Namco would in turn adapt several aspects of the Pac-Man expanded universe for their own use, notably Ms. Pac and aspects of the first Pac-Man TV show, a pretty dumb cartoon made by Hanna-Barbera back in the period where they’d adapt anything for a buck. Namco made Pac-Land, an important early scrolling platformer, using the characters, music, and art style from that cartoon. In recent years rights issues have caused Bandai-Namco to reject Ms. Pac-Man too, creating a rights-unencumbered replacement character called “Pac-Mom,” which presumably will feature in this movie. All of this is just to demonstrate to you how incredibly twisted and fraught Pac-media has become, and I haven’t even gotten into the second TV show, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, which I’d rather not discuss. I will note, however, that because of Pac-Man’s inclusion as a character in Smash Bros. 4 and Ultimate, the first Pac-Man cartoon show in some small way lives on in Smash Bros’ Pac-Land stage.
Hamish Hector at TechRadar (that’s a different site from GamesRadar, right?) writes that there’s never been a worse time to buy an Oculus Quest 2. Considering that dumps more money into the hated trough of Zuckerberg, I can’t think that there’s ever been a good time.
Jenny List at Hack-A-Day points to a long and interesting post by Cameron Kaiser on good ol’ Blogger blog Old Vintage Computing about MOS Technology’s early entries into the Pong system-on-a-chip market, the MOS 7600 and 7601, which were programmable, meaning, they could run code, and systems that used them. It makes for fascinating reading to my gelatinous brain.
And at PC Gamer, Christopher Livingston relates how the developers of survival MMO Last Oasis decided their genre “sucks,” and reworked it to be PvE instead of PvP.