Demoscene: Batman Rises

The demoscene is a rich source of awesome, and at times ridiculous, imagery and sounds. Once in a while we sift through it to find things to entertain you with.

Found from Z303’s aptly named Tumblr The Demo Scene, Batman Rises was created by the aptly-named Batman Group, who might be just a little too obsessed with Warner Bros’ multimedia megaproperty. This demo was created for the Amiga 500 with 1 MB of RAM in 2022. That people are still making demos for the classic Amiga platform today is pretty awesome, whether they focus on Batman, Spider-man or some other be-spandexed corporate-owned trademarked character.

Here is video of the demo in action (8 1/2 minutes):

They also made a blog post describing the narrative of the demo. You may find it interesting. It still seems pretty fluffy to me (I mean it has a scene of zooming down a technological tunnel for no reason I could discern), but I’ll admit it’s pretty awesome to see something like this running on 36-year-old hardware! If you have interest in obtaining the demo yourself, to run in physical hardware or an emulator, both it and instructions for running are here.

Satellablog: New Dumps!

Satellablog is a blog dedicated to preserving content from one of the least-documented portions of Nintendo video game history, that short period in their life where they distributed software via satellite broadcast, over the St. GIGA service.

Bounty Sword, Satellaview version
(Images from Satellablog)

Most of this stuff only exists, maybe, in company archives deep in the halls of Nintendo, and the data from the last broadcasts saved on aging flash memory cartridges held by subscribers. It is believed that all of the dumps that have been made available have come from those cartridges, and Satellaview is dedicated to finding them and making them available.

Elfaria II demo

There are a number of interesting finds in this batch, including lost Dezaemon shooters, a cut-down version of Super Famicom RTS Bounty Sword, a non-playable demo of Elfaria II. But the most surprising thing in the collection is a number of dumps of a Satellaview version of Nintendo’s website circa 1999, one of the last things they made available over Satellaview! I had no idea that the service survived that long!

Satellablog: The biggest batch so far (Part 1)

Aqua Ippan: Metal Slug Homage

Indie Retro News reported recently on this cool run-and-gun game made by Division 六 the style of Metal Slug. Here’s a promotional video. Note that some of the sound effects are taken directly from Metal Slug, but are intended as placeholders. The final version should have no outside assets.

Aqua Ippan demo (itch.io, $0) – Official Site

Demo: Back to the PET

The Commodore 64 was not Commodore’s first home computer. It wasn’t even the VIC-20. Their first machines were the line of the PET, or “Personal Electronic Transactor,” as labored an acronym as any.

The PET was a decent machine, with integrated monochome monitor and a heavy metal case. Although it had no color, no sprites, only a basic speaker for sound and no synth, it had a number of things in common with the later C64, particularly the 6502 processor that lay at the core of half of the personal computers sold at the time.

There was something else, something fairly major, that the PET lacked: customizable graphics. No hi-res mode, and no programmable character sets. The graphics were encoded on a ROM that wasn’t even mapped to the CPU’s address space. The letter ‘A’ would forever look like a letter ‘A’. It couldn’t be changed to anything else, even a slightly different ‘A’. This greatly limited what PETs could display, and basically doomed it as a gaming computer.

Commodore tried to compensate for this feature by including “PETSCII,” a set of custom characters included in the upper 128 characters of its ROM intended for makeshift graphics. PETSCII would survive throughout the rest of the Commodore 8-bit line, even featuring on machines that had programmable graphics: the VIC-20, C64 and C128 all had it included too. (The Twitter account PETSCIIBOTS (now inactive) shows off its many graphical characters in making robots.)

On the later machines PETSCII graphic characters were a fun nicety. On the PET, they were all you had, all you would ever have. This is exactly the kind of limitation that demo authors love circumventing where they can, and taking advantage of when they can’t. Hence: Back To The PET, a demo, complete somehow with chiptunes, that runs on Commodore’s ancient machine:

Every character cell of every frame of this video is one of the PET’s 256 ROM-based characters. It had no hardware scrolling, so effects are all faked or done 8 characters at a time. Yet it’s still pretty slick! The PET had quite a better selection of graphics characters than even IBM’s code page 437, including lines of single pixel differences in thickness and horizontal and vertical position. Image what the ASCII artists of the 90s could have done with this selection! Luxurious!

The Best Games of Next Fest 2023 Part 1

The first of several videos looking at my favorite game demos from next fest 2023.

0:00 Intro
00:25 Meat Grinder
1:45 Yet Another Zombie Survivors
3:05 Radio the Universe
4:53 Protodroid Delta
6:12 Creeping Deck Pharoah’s Curse
7:39 Dungeons of Aether
9:16 Valfaris Mecha Therion
11:25 Sushi For Robots
12:48 Ninja or Die
14:56 Grim Guardians
16:55 Nocturnal
18:45 Elypse
20:22 The Last Case of Benedict Fox
22:34 Planet of Lana

Xmas Lemmings 1991

It’s the holidays and we’re trying to make low effort posts for now, so let’s just watch a playthrough of the first Christmas Lemmings disk, released in 1991.

Psygnosis released several of these as free pass-around demos. This one is of the MS-DOS version, and is only about 19 minutes in total. Enjoy the festive yuletide peril!

Games of Gamescom Spotlight Stream Night 1

For each night of Gamescom, I streamed my entire plays of demos and these video parts are the collections of them.