Sundry Sunday is our weekly feature of fun gaming culture finds and videos, from across the years and even decades.
I’m going to be honest, I vary in my appreciation for TerminalMontage’s gaming-related Youtube animations. Sometimes I think they’re brilliant, other times I think they really try too hard to be edgy. At their best they use the purposely-janky animation to make a point about the subject. Previously I’ve linked to their Breath of the Wild “speedrun” animation, where some of the things that would ordinarily be kind of lolrandom inclusions were actually, amazingly, references to things players do in actual speedruns.
I think the pinnacle of their output has to be their depiction of the events of The Typing of the Dead, Sega’s side-sequel to The House of the Dead 2, which took that lightgun zombie-shooting arcade game and grafted a typing trainer onto it. It was one of the most memorable game experiences I’ve ever seen, not just for the crazy premise that entirely works, not for the ludicrous power of its word list, but because the boss fights were each reworked to fit into the style, and forced players to answer questions with the keyboard, or type ludicrous sentences to try to mess them up.
There’s Something About The Typing of the Dead takes the game’s premise and reworks it as if villain Goldman was a 4chan-style vomiter of memes, right down to having an Anonymous mask, and as such makes for a more effective villain than the actual game had. The computer-synthesized voices for the characters are on a par with the terrible voice acting in the game. Most of all, I’m pleased for the unexpected use of Whomst’d’ve at the end.
Now that I’ve finally managed to squeeze this video into Sundry Sunday, I look forward to never mentioning memes here ever ever again.
Have you ever heard of Cosmic Smash? I’d be shocked if you had. It’s the kind of thing that even I only know about from obsessive reading of obscure game blogs and Youtube videos. It was a Sega arcade game that got a release for the Dreamcast right at the moment the company was getting out of the console business. It had laughably bad timing, and it never made it out of Japan.
Yet, the game has gotten a cult following. You could deride it as merely a futuristic, three-dimensional take on racquetball and Breakout, but it’s one of those games where the style makes all the difference. Here’s some footage of the Dreamcast version:
Time Extension, one of those blogs that makes good posts so often that I’m tempted to tell you to read it instead, did an article talking with the creator of a spiritual remake called C-Smash VR, released for Playstation VR2 with a license from Sega and the blessing of the game’s original creators. It’s such an obscure game that I’d be surprised if it could be profitable, but we love rooting for underdogs here, even if I have a general antipathy for VR.
Some exciting news for people who have set up their Dreamcasts for online play. While official servers for Dreamcast games have all been taken down long ago, fans have worked towards making their own fan-run versions, and word from Dreamcast Junkyard is that they’re close to getting one working for Daytona USA 2001! While the game was released with online play, the servers for that game went down very quickly, staying up for just 18 months. Dreamcast Junkyard has an interview with ioncannon, the person responsible for this wondrous event.
If you have a Dreamcast and the game, you won’t have to edit anything to get it working, but the Dreamcast Broadband Adapter does not work with it. You’ll have to use the built-in Dreamcast Modem in conjunction with DreamPi, a method for using a Raspberry Pi to connect a Dreamcast to the internet.
All the details are in the interview, so if you’re interested in trying this or just want to learn more, there the info be.
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!
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.
You may believe this or not as you please, but I actually don’t have much use for nostalgia. Some reminiscing about what once was is okay, but it’s very easy to take it too far, and verge off into ridiculous things like, say, claiming that casting a woman as the lead in a movie in a freakishly popular sci-fi film franchise is somehow retroactively ruining your childhood. We have no truck with that.
But we do try to recognize when things really were better. Not to devolve into the kinds of rhetoric our cave-dwelling co-blogger uses, the internet is easily seen to be in a less useful, less interesting state these days. Where it was once easy to Google up a plethora of simple freeware tools for most purposes, now rampant SEO and adverse purposes has made finding even simple tutorials for most computing tasks a maze of scams, farmed content, and even bots. When you do find something, more than likely it’s in the form of a YouTube video. A world of bloggers has largely been superseded, or at least made difficult to find by Google’s accursed algorithms and by social media and Stack Overflow, and a universe of fansites is being pushed into obscurity by Wikipedia’s sleezy cousin Fandom.com. And whatever you thought about the AIM/Yahoo/MSN instant messaging triumvirate, at least they didn’t lock off substantial content from the wider internet within a constellation of Discord servers.
I won’t claim that the older internet was better in every way (anyone remember ubiquitous pop-up ads?) but the lost hopefulness of it is tragic. Set Side B, in its way, hopes to rekindle some of that.
A contributing factor to the decay of the web is the cost in maintaining server space and connectivity. If you want to keep something up, someone has to pay money to run the internet connection, to store the site, and to pay your service provider for an IP address and the registrar for a domain name. Even fairly big sites like our dear departed ancestor GameSetWatch have vanished from the living web, now findable only by wandering the dim shadowlands of the Wayback Machine, and it’s foolish to think that even that will be around forever.
GameSetWatch was backed by UBM Media, now owned by an entity with the perfectly dystopian name Informa. You’d think they would have the pockets to preserve such a fondly remembered part of their legacy, but no.
This is what makes me so pleased that GameSurge survives. I found it, like I did the subject of Monday’s post on the Interton VC 4000, by perusing the results of alternative search engine Wiby, which prioritizes sites with simple designs, on the grounds that they’re more likely to have interesting content. I’m not sure such an approach will scale with popularity, as it seems just as vulnerable to SEO optimizing as Google’s current mobile-friendly regime, but for now at least I’m finding it useful.
GameSurge is not an up-to-the-moment gaming news site. In fact, GameSurge currently hosts an article enthusing about the upcoming Dreamcast game Eternal Arcadia. As near as I can tell, not a byte has changed on the site since around 2005, and that’s just a late updating column. They don’t even acknowledge the existence of the Playstation 2.
And yet, it survives. Someone is still paying the bills. Someone still cares enough to keep the domain name up. It remains, frozen in amber, as it was back in pre-Gamecube days. The site doesn’t even have a favicon. It’s beautiful.
And when you’re done, why not load up on much more recent gaming news from 1up.com and Joystiq? Geez, with such terrific site names I’m amazed no one’s bought them up and fleshed them out anew. Wait. I’m someone! I could do it! Let me make a call…. Hello? Engadget? I hear you have this domain name you might want to unload. I’ve got… um, 36 cents. Hello? Hello?
The Sega Dreamcast was ahead of its time in many ways. It was possible to load web pages on a Sega Saturn Net Link, but the Dreamcast had a built-in dial-up modem and came with a web browser included in the box. In the US it was created by PlanetWeb; Japanese users got DreamPassport, . Further, several games had built-in web browsers to connect with websites online that offered hints, forums, DLC and special functionality. Sonic Adventure allowed you to upload the Chao from your Chao Garden to a day care service. All of those services broke when a game’s servers were taken down, although in the case of Sonic Adventure, a fan bought the domain when it expired and put up the original content so that Dreamcast consoles can find it.
While several versions of the PlanetWeb browser were released during the system’s short life, they all have some pretty significant limitations. The Dreamcast itself only has 26 MB of RAM, of which only 16 MB is of general use. Plus many sites rely on scripting, which the Dreamcast wasn’t equipped to handle even at the time. On top of it all few people use dial-up internet any more, so that modem isn’t too useful. The Dreamcast Broadband Adapter is an effective workaround, but is hard to find. The Dreamcast also had keyboard and mouse peripherals release for it to aid in internet use.
Dan Wood on YouTube recently plugged a Broadband Adapter, keyboard, and mouse into his Dreamcast and took it online with a 2008 browser release, and the video above shows the results. If you’re curious to see how much the web has changed since then it’s worth the 22 minutes out of your day it takes to watch it. (Less time, if you speed the video up! Another minute less if you skip past the ad!)
How many people used the Dreamcast for serious browsing? It was a fairly clunky experience even back then, when most web pages were fairly lightweight and most didn’t rely on scripting. I had it back then and I only put it in a few times. The PC experience was much better even then. Internet Explorer launched in 1995, and of course Netscape Navigator and Mosaic came before. Compare that to the Dreamcast’s 1999 release date for some hint that, even though it was the first console that was internet capable out of the box, it was already a little late to the party.
That’s okay though. We’re publishing a gaming blog in 2022. Old things are okay with us.
At VentureBeat’s subsite GamesBeat, Dean Takahashi sadly reports that Bernie Stolar, former President at Sega of America, has passed away at the age of 75. Alana Hauges of NintendoLife notes that his early career was in co-op, before joining Atari and working on their Lynx portable system. Later at Sony, Stolar helped shepherd the Playstation and franchises such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, before leaving to help Sega launch the Dreamcast.
After going free-to-play, the player base of popular battle royale hit Fall Guys‘ has ballooned to 20 million! But Eric Van Allen at Destructoid tells us that there is some tension among long-time players over changes to its currency model. At GameRant, Rory Young has more, including an observation made by one of the players: under the new system, a player who loses five matches in the first round ends up making more than a player who wins a match after five rounds!
Graham Smith at Rock Paper Shotgun tells tales of the 2018 indie game Space Bob vs The Replicons (Steam), described as like a 2D No Man’s Sky, but didn’t do well on its initial release. Its creator had a heart attack a week after it hit Steam, then left the games industry. But he’s back, and has announced a big update. Its developer is Intravenous Software, and they’re on Twitter!