From Destructoid: Gex Recriminations

The Suck Fairy is a mischievous spirit who visits the beloved properties of our youths so that when we return to them they’re much worse than they were when we first found them. That is surely the explanation; it’s not that we’re much more knowledgeable and mature readers/viewers/players now than back then. It can’t be that our horizons have expanded. It can’t be that the thing we liked back then was never really as good as we thought it was.

The Suck Fairy as a concept has been with us for a while now. I think it was introduced to the world in a September 2010 article on by Jo Walton. There’s lots of weird concepts like that that litter internet culture (my favorite is the “Crazification Factor,” from a post on Kung Fu Monkey in 2005, long enough ago that its mention of Obama’s election refers to his Senate run), and sometimes we don’t even know the first time it arose.

Gek is maybe an odd choice for a visit from the Suck Fairy; surely, all of its suck was predispensed? But it was still beloved by some, many of them purchasers of the failed 3DO system on which it originated, one of those consoles with few games, and even fewer that could be called good. (The best, probably? Star Control II.)

The writer of this Destructoid article, still liked it for itself, but finds that it’s one of those games where context given by its manual kind of ruins the game’s premise by giving it an adverse context.

If you just play the game, Gex is a fairly shallow game about a lizard mascot character, in sunglasses no less, romping through a series of worlds based on media properties, uttering trite digitized quotes at various times.

If you read the manual, you find out that Gex is wallowing in sorrow! His dad was an astrogecko working for NASA! He lost his life in a terrible accident! Gex, unable to face the world, retreated into television! It’s the only way he can handle living! And, although Gex thwarts the villain’s plot to use him as a mascot character (a thing he already is really), nothing at the end of the game indicates that his mental state has changed.

The first of six manual pages that lays out the reason for Gex’s media obsession.

I think the writer may be overthinking things a bit. Often manual stories were written as an afterthought by people who had nothing to do with the making of the game. Have you ever seen the manual for the NES release of Konami’s Life Force? It claims that the evil gigantic space creature Zelos, huge enough to devour planets, was the proud offspring of alien beings named “Ma and Pa Deltoid.” The manual for NES Metal Gear claims that the villain wasn’t Big Boss but instead “Colonel Vermon CaTaffy.”

Gex got off pretty lightly, by comparison.

I’ve wildly misunderstood Gex (Destructoid, by Timothy Monbleau)

News 9/13/22: Velma, Host Mode, Monocraft, VMUs

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

From Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai at The Verge. More news on Billy Mitchell, retro game record holder and villain of King of Kong. Now, in addition to having his Donkey Kong record stripped from him then reinstated, he has been accused by forensics experts of having used MAME to achieve two of his Donkey Kong scores that were represented as coming from arcade hardware. It has to do with differences between how MAME and the arcade machine build their game playfields for display when a level begins. It’s interesting reading! Mitchell has sued Twin Galaxies over defamation over how he achieved his records, which this evidence could play a role in.

At NicheGamer, Fingal Belmont presents a list of 24 3DS games to get before its eShop closes. There are ways to get new software on a 3DS after the store closes, but they aren’t legal means, and won’t get any income to the games’ creators, and we all want that!

Ryan Gilliam writing for Polygon tells us that Velma in the WB Smashlike Multiversus no longer “calls the cops” on opponents, instead bringing in her friends’ van the Mystery Machine to carry them off. To explain: Velma has a special game mechanism where her opponents sometimes drop clues when they perform attacks. If Velma can collect enough of them, it summons a vehicle (formerly the police, now the van) to cart that opponent away.

The font Monocraft

It’s at Kotaku that Ashley Bardham reports that Twitch is ending their “Host Mode” feature. Through this feature, a channel that isn’t stream itself can choose to host another stream, a loved feature that enables one channel to “raid” another, granting them all its viewers. Twitch says the feature is going away on October 3.

Blogfriend Benj Edwards writing at Ars Technica informs us of a new coding font by Idrees Hassan based off of the typeface used in Minecraft. It’s an OpenType font called Monocraft, so it should work in Windows, macOS and Linux, and it’s available here.

Andy Chalk writing through PC Gamer explains that Crystal Dynamics has managed to reclaim ownership of the Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain franchises after Square Enix let them go, and Eidos Montreal owns the Deus Ex and Thief series.

Image from Wikipedia, credited to Evan Amos

And at VG247, Alex Donaldson tells us of an Indiegogo project to make an updated version of the Dreamcast’s iconic VMU memory cards. The updated devices will be compatible with the Dreamcast and the original cards, which had an LCD screen that could run simple games, and could even be connected to each other to trade information, but will have more powerful hardware and better screen resolution. The project is here.

Link Roundup 5/8/2022

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

This is a big one! Kat Bailey reporting for IGN and doing some quality journalism, looking into Nintendo of America’s problem with leaning on contract employees. Nintendo has enjoyed something of a reputation as a good place to work, but it definitely seems like this has changed. The article is long but a must-read!

M. Smith of Engadget previews Steam on Chromebooks.

Graham Smith of Rock Paper Shotgun talks to Ron Gilbert about the in-development and eagerly-anticipated Return to Monkey Island.

From Sean Endicott of Windows Central, Microsoft open sources Windows 3D Movie Maker! Here’s the announcement tweet. Seems Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman was convinced to do so by hardware hacker and source of general awesomeness foone!

Christian Donlan at Eurogamer looks back at the Crystal Dynamics’ take on the Tomb Raider series. That would be the Tomb Raider games subtitled Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld.

And a marketing success story, zukalous at How To Market A Game (title’s to the point) describes how the pachinko roguelite Peglin managed to get popular so quickly! It also links to friend-of-the-blog Simon Carless’ game discovery newsletter!