News 6/23/2022: RPG Netcode Newsletter

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

Not a lot of news today, drebnar! Let’s see what there is to see with our respective light-based optical sensors.

We usually have tons of things to link, so we’ve started leaning away from listicles, but it’s a short broadcast today, so here’s Chris Freiberg’s list of the best 15 Genesis RPGs on Den of Geek. It’s a provocative list, in order from last to first: Gauntlet IV, Ys III: Wanderers From Ys, Syndicate, Sword of Vermillion, Light Crusader, Crusader of Centy, Landstalker, Pirates! Gold, Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Shining Force II, Phantasy Star III, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Beyond Oasis, Shadowrun, and, of course, Phantasy Star IV. Now, Gauntlet IV is an amazing port, and no one can fault Wonder Boy in Monster World, Landstalker or Pirates! Gold on general terms, but they’re hardly traditional RPGs. And then there are the games left out: the original Shining Force didn’t make it even through SF2 did, there’s no Phantasy Star II or Shining in the Darkness, and most egregious of all IMO, nowhere to be seen are New World Computing’s terrific ports of King’s Bounty or Might & Magic II, which are fully the equal of their computer versions drebnar! And if you’re going to include Pirates! Gold, you gotta include Starflight! And while it’s a bit clunky in interface, there’s the oft-overlooked early Naughty Dog production Rings of Power!

Victoria Kennedy at Eurogamer casually drops that a documentary is approaching on the making of Nintendo 64 system seller Goldeneye 007.

Lots of places are raving about the excellence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, proclaiming it a return to the greatness of the classic Konami arcade games. WCCFtech’s Ule Lopez chimes in, in their review, and uses it to explain about the wonders of rollback netcode. Okay by us!

Thom Dunn at Boing Boing reports that the newsletter 50 Years of Text Games is being published in book form!

Finally, back at Nintendo Life again, Alana Hagues points us to a YouTube video explain a trick allowing you to explore underwater areas in Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

News 6/21/22: Elden Daggerfall Kunio Ring Scrolls Kun

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

Kate Gray at Nintendo Life presents Moonstone Island, described as Zelda meets Stardew Valley.

D. Hardawar of Engadget really quite likes Radical Dreamers, that Satellaview text adventure sequel to Chrono Trigger that was presented to the world as part of the recent remake of Chrono Cross.

Chris Moyse at Destructoid mentions that Kyoko and Misako, the protagonists of the popular recent beat-em-up River City Girls, are going to appear in another Kunio-kun spinoff, River City Saga: Three Kingdoms, in which the popular high school fighting characters appear in the Chinese epic best known to Westerners as Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It’s not the first Kunio game even to do this; back on the Famicom they appeared in game set as a school play, called (translated into English) Downtown Special: Kunio-kun’s Historical Period Drama!, which is playable in Double Dragon & Kunio-kun: Retro Brawler Bundle.

Matthew Byrd at Den of Geek brings us to mind of the Dark Souls 3 mod The Convergence, whose makers are now turning their attention to Elden Ring.

Good news from Jarred Walton by way of Tom’s Hardware: with the blessed collapse of cryptocurrencies, GPU prices are set to plummet!

At Kotaku, Zack Zwiezen notes the indie game Agent 64: Spies Never Die is set to remind everyone why Goldeneye and Perfect Dark were so great.

And Luke Plunkett at Kotaku informs us of the 1996 Elder Scrolls game Daggerfall getting a mod to update it with modern graphics and controls! The post links to a 19-minute demonstration video.

News 5/7/22: Diablo Immortal, Toy Story pinball, Metroid music takedown

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

Paul Tassi at Forbes (really? wow) mentions that it’s been discovered that not only does Diablow Immortal have significant pay-to-win aspects, but also contains measures that drastically decrease drop rates if you get too many rare items in a day.

Anthony Culinas over at The Beta Network reviews cute platformer Grapple Dog! Verdict: he likes it, mostly!

At Rock Paper Shotgun, C.J. Wheeler talks about Obsidian’s murder mystery game Pentient, which is illustrated in a style akin to medieval manuscripts! It’s always nice to see a game eschew the boring push towards photographic realism.

Gizmodo’s Andre Liszewski brings up a new controller from 8BitDo that puts all its buttons on the face. No shoulder buttons remain! It’s intended for accessibility purposes, although that doesn’t mean anyone can’t use it. And it’s only $35! Sadly it only works with the Switch and Android devices, although I don’t see why it couldn’t be put to use on PCs too? Is it blocked from working on PCs somehow, and for some reason?

Lauren Morton at PC Gamer mentions Backfirewall, a puzzle game set inside a smartphone with an outdated OS. It’s mentioned that it has a demo on Steam.

Samuel Claiborn at IGN brings information about Jersey Jack’s upcoming Toy Story 4 pinball machine, designed by Addams Family and Twilight Zone designer Pat Lawlor! I have a friend who’s really jazzed up to get their hands on it, and has preordered it, despite it selling out in three minutes and costing $15,000!

Under our new policy of one link to a major news site per news post, we have Ollie Reynolds covering Nintendo’s typically hamhanded takedown of fan content, this time of fan remixes of Metroid music. Sheesh, N!

News Roundup 6/15/2022

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

The gaming internet has been abuzz with the Wholesome Games Direct presentation, a huge collection of low-key and adorable amusements that only want your love! Please adopt one today!

The most notable thing I noticed about Patrick Arellano’s article for CBR.com about 10 games that inspired copycats is, Rogue isn’t one of them!

Boone Ashworth at Wired Magazine says Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is slowing its hardware plans. I also hear from its parents that it’s putting away its leather jacket and sunglasses, but still plans to get that tattoo.

At Rock Paper Shotfun, Katharine Castle tells us about Stray, a game where you play as a cat in a post-apocalyptic world full of robots. Some are mean, but some are friendly, including one your kitty protagonist wears as a cute backpack! It mentions that the platforming involved is unique in that it prevents you from upsetting notions of feline grace by just not allowing you to make bad jumps. I mean, that’s okay most of the time, but what if I wanted to play as a kitty klutz? Believe me, they exist.

Interesting news from Muhammad Ali Bari at Twisted Voxel on Crash Bandicoot 5, being developed by the always-wonderful Toys For Bob!

We post a lot of articles from Nintendo Life here, we have noticed, to the degree that we are considering a limit to the number of times a single site can be featured in a single news post. Well, we haven’t done that yet, so the three Nintendo Life posts this time out:

Brian at Nintendo Everything presents a translation of some text from Nintendo’s recruitment site, talking about the creation of all the furniture in Animal Crossing New Horizons, much of it done by outsourced labor.

Video Games Chronicle notes, through the auspices of Jordan Middler, that Diablo Immortal has the lowest user Metacritic score in history: 0.2! It seems to be a huge pushback against its play-to-win aspects. There might be a bit of a pile-on effect going on there, but it’s a significant sign of how public reaction to it has turned.

CBR.com’s Patrick Arellano presents a list of ten mistakes that still haunt Sega. Many times these lists are pretty light, but this one makes some significant points, especially about the rancor between the Japan and U.S. branches of the company around the Genesis through Dreamcast era.

And Popkin at Boing Boing presents the Game Boy that survived a bombing. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

News Roundup 6/13/2022

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

Hey all you blobs, it’s Kent Drebnar again to bring you the latest Earth gaming news relayed back to your planet from the depths of space. We’d respond faster but it takes time for light to make the round trip, you know, to do these any faster would break causation!

We often have stories from Nintendo Life, and this installment is no different. Ollie Reynolds notes that Twitter has organized a campaign to get a kid with terminal cancer an early copy of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Here is the original plea, from Dr. Erica Kaye. They have gotten a response from Pokémon Company Vice President Eric Neustadter, stating that while early access to the games may not be possible, they are considering doing something special for the young fan. It is the job of any real journalist to aim a critical eye at stories like this, and honestly, when it comes down to it, these kinds of pieces are feel-good filler, but they do make one feel good! Here is hoping they can help the kid’s dreams become a reality.

Also from Nintendo Life this time out. Kate Gray: a sequel to Cozy Grove is in the works. And, Ollie Reynolds again: Intellivision says they have significantly cut staff to help complete production of the Amico. Wait, is that how it works?

Dwarf Fortress – image from Bay 12 Games

Two items from Kotaku. John Walker notes that the Dwarf Fortress brothers are in steadily-worsening financial straits in the home stretch before the Steam release. Dwarf Fortress is a venerable project by this time, and main developer Tarn Adams has one of the most amazing minds and work ethics around, and lately has been devoted to improving the game’s legendarily-complex interface. Blogmate John Harris has done two pieces with Tarn Adams for Game Developer, née Gamasutra, one in 2019 and one way back in 2008. It’s been years since DF memes regularly let the most prominent gaming news sites, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t still amazing, and continually being made more amazing. Won’t you please consider contributing to their well-being, and help make the horror of 2022 slightly less horrible?

Sorry! No waifus in the previews! Otherwise they wouldn’t be as able to charge (checks price) oh blob, $90 for it.

The second Kotaku item is Ian Walker letting us know that preorder sales for the Special Edition of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 were so heavy that they brought down the My Nintendo storefront. It is possible that one of the reasons was an included printed image collection that one fan referred to as a “waifu artbook.” I guess that answers the question of whether there’ll be another hot pants-wearing magic sword girl in this one. Monolith Soft knows their audience too well.

Kimberly Wallace of Game Informer notes the mobile platformer-slash-dungeon-crawler Lucky Luna will be free for Netflix subscribers.

Ryan Lambie in issue 64 of Wireframe brings us a long piece on the joy of modding handheld consoles!

Finally, we try to keep our focus here focused strictly on video and computer games (when was the last time you saw someone distinguish between those two categories?), but that means technology in general, so I figured it was worth nothing Andrew Cunningham’s note on Ars Technica that Microsoft is considering making an SSD a requirement for OEM licensing for future versions of Windows. Even though most computers, except very low-end models, these days already come with SSDs, it’s worth noting that this is still a major change. SSDs are much faster than physical platter hard disks, but they are also much smaller at a given price point, and Windows installs are still as bulky as ever. Something to be aware of! Drebnar out!

News Roundup 6/10/2022

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

Its crossover fighting game edition!

Zack Zwiezen, Nintendo Life: Character voices and items coming to Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. Yes! Catdog fighting Stimpy fighting Reptar! More, I say! Let’s cross everything with everything else! Why should we deny ourselves, let’s mix all pop culture together into a clumpy grey fluid!

Alex Santa Maria, comingsoon.net: Leaks of possible characters coming to MultiVersus, including Ted Lasso and Samurai Jack. Oh yes my little ploppies, breakdown all walls between universes! Realistic people fighting Tom & Jerry! Bugs Bunny fighting Arya Stark! It’d be a ridiculous parody if it weren’t all too real! Stir up that fanboy gruel and pour it into my unwashed bowl!

Kite Stenbuck at SiliconEra: SNK: All Star Fight set to release in Japan in the Fall. Karateguys against shootypeople! Let’s settle all those dumb schoolyard arguments now! Who wins in a fight between a Contra guy and Johnny Cage? The answer is you, the viewers at home, or at least that’s what I have been told.

Darryn Bonthuys, Gamespot: Capcom confirms Street Fighter 6 roster leak is real. What? Is it crossing over with anyone? No Spider-Man? No Optimus Prime? That’s not how you do it! Could someone check with Capcom and make sure they’re all right? (Note: I have been assured that there is a reference to Final Fight’s mayor Mike Haggar in the game, so there is at least some mixing going on, thank blob.)

After so much forbidden property scrambling, the rest of this post can only be slowly-dimming afterglow.

Arsenijs Picugins at hackaday.net: A tutorial on adding memory to the 1.6 hardware release of the original Xbox.

Alana Hauges, Nintendo Life: Homebrew Mega Drive game brings Final Fight to Sega consoles, at last.

From the same writer, Pokemon GO‘s lifetime revenue tops six billion.

SaturnDave at RetroRGB: Modder SegaRPGFan has succeeded in tunneling Saturn NetLink data over the internet.

News Roundup 6/8/22

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

Greets my Earth peeps! That is how you say it down there, is it not? Cultural differences are quite extreme between our worlds, I assure you, up here we cannot even get our Hot Pockets in a Pepperoni variety. Well let us get down directly to the tacks that are comprised of brass:

Megan Farokhmanesh at Wired Magazine proclaims the end of an era for Pokemon. Yet, I feel fine! The article claims that open world games are in store for that series. But no word about the shameful factory farming conditions under which Miltanks are kept!

Popful Mail is relentlessly charming!
Image from MobyGames.

HotHardware mentions, as well as other sites, the new Sega Mega Drive Mini 2 that is in the works. Two of the games for it appear to be Sonic CD and Popful Mail! It appears to be a nice device! I’m sure it’ll be even nice once it has inevitably been hacked, drebnar!

Nintendo Life shows up a lot in these webbéd pages. I am still not even sure if their name is stylized with a space drebnar! Well we have two missives from them today:

Kate Gray tells us of the indie game Wayward Strand and the sensitive way in which it treats the elderly! This is the point where a less enlightened correspondent would make some crass joke. That correspondent is not me. Advancing!

The second piece from Nintendo Life is from Liam Doolan, and also refers to the Sega Mega Drive Mini. It states that Sega has considered doing mini versions of the Saturn and even Dreamcast, but that costs, especially related to the pandemic, have interfered with that. Perfidious COVID! Is there no end to the obstacles that you pose?

Chris Moyse at Destructoid sings songs of the Arcade Archives release of Tower of Druaga. It’s one of the most purposely obtuse arcade games ever created, and you’re now able to bash your own head silly against its maddening puzzles, which are less puzzles as a load of secret tricks you must discover for yourself in order to complete it. At least you won’t have to spend your own 100-yen coins on each failed attempt!

At Gizmodo Andrew Liszewskki reports on someone who modded an old NES Power Glove to work with the Switch, and they didn’t even need to call on the dark name of Nyarlathotep to do it!

And over at Delisted Games, ShawnS tells of firmware updates that make older games for Sony’s platforms harder, or even impossible, to get. Affected are the PS3, Vita and PSP. It’s never good when software becomes unusable, and it doesn’t matters if it’s on Sony, Apple, or Nintendo platforms. This is only going to get worse over time.

News Roundup 6/4/22

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

It’s been a couple of days! Life has been busy on our planet, it’s zoobnok season and the florbs are all bemukked. You know how that is!

Jody Macgregor at PC Gamer tells us how to play Fallout and Fallout 2 to in the modern age. I’d like to remind folk not to forget the original Wasteland!

Also at PC Gamer, Jonathan Bolding mentions that the drought of information about an update of the the remake of Warcraft 3, called Warcraft 3 Reforged, may soon come to an end. Yawn… wake me when it’s news. Jonathan reminds us that Reforged is the game with the lowest User Score on Metacritic, with a 0.6. Wow!

Kate Gray at NintendoLife, an outfit we seem to link to a lot drebnar, brings word of Twitter artist Jim’ll Paint It, who works in the medium of MS Paint, who has done a wonderful drawing of the team of British archeology show uncovering a fossilized Link from Ocarina of Time!

Also from NintendoLife (is that spelled with a space?), Thomas Whitehead tells us of a romhack of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 on Game Boy that adds color to the game, for play on Game Boy Color systems or emulators. They offer a demo video.

And another NintendoLife article! This one’s by both Whitehead and Gavin Lane, and offers advice on preparing your 3DS and Wii U consoles for the end of official support.

TheHustle’s Mark Dent has a piece about how the first video game easter eggs were acts of corporate defiance! That’s right devs! Stick it to the gloob!

GamesRadar’s Hope Bellingham lets us know that Animal Crossing: New Horizons doesn’t support dates after the year 2060. This might sound like one of those things we don’t have to worry about, and the article takes a derisive tone to players who might still be playing that long as dictated by the Game Journalism Style Guide, but consider: people now play games that are older than 40 years, Animal Crossing has always been a game that could be played for long periods, and there are a lot more years after 2060 than before. Of course, you can always change the system clock back, if you can bear living with your system thinking it’s the year 2020 again.

And along those lines, Logan Moore at comicbook.com (is that really their name?) notes that Sony is planning on sunsetting the PS4 by 2025.

Zack Zwiezen at Kotaku mentions that the upcoming Diablo Immortal won’t be released in Belgium and the Netherlands because of gambling laws concerning loot boxes.

News Roundup 5/31/22

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

Sal Romano at Gematsu has the top 30 sales data from Mat 16-22, and Alana Hauges at NintendoLife notes that the top 10 games are all Switch titles! In fact, 27 of the top 30 are Switch titles! The top seller is Nintendo Switch Sports. The three holdouts are Konami’s eBASEBALL Powerful Pro Baseball 2022 on PS4, FromSoftware’s Elden Ring on PS4, and SIE’s Horizon Forbidden West on PS5.

Arsenijs Picugins writes that one of the winners of Hackaday Prize 2022 is an ultra-tiny Python-hosting LCD game unit, called the PewPew LCD. The project is hosted at hackaday.io. I’m not quite sure how you get one; it looks like you might have to source parts yourself, or maybe order a kit from somewhere. Still, they look like very interesting little devices!

Also on Hackday, Robin Kearey tells us of a project intended to drive XY-based monitors like oscilloscopes and arcade vector monitors, and can interface with AdvanceMAME to provide a display for classic vector games like Asteroids and Tempest!

Back at NintendoLife, Kate Gray has a thoughtful article about using games to promote mental health. They speak to two representatives of the non-profit Take This, which is devoted to decreasing stigma and increasing support for mental health in games.

Also from NintendoLife, Liam Doolan report of a bug in the Nintendo Switch Online version of Kirby 64 that can softlock the game in some circumstances.

An interesting thing about blog posts is when the title on the page is different from the title in the header. Thus we can see that an alternate title of David Grossman’s article for Inverse, “You need to play the most overlooked horror game of all time on Switch ASAP,” is “You need to play the most Castlevania game on Switch ASAP.” Kind of gives the game away? The game in question is Castlevania Bloodlines, BTW.

Jarop of NintendoEverything relays word from the producers of Triangle Strategy, by way of Japanese site 4Gamer, that the art used in the game cost more to create than you might think. Which, I mean, what else are they going to say? “LOL creating the graphics was really cheap and super easy too!” The quote:

It’s probably worth noting that it costs more than you’d think. In that respect, it’s a good match for the titles want out of Square Enix. There might not be much to gain from other companies copying it.

Tomoya Asano

Sure thing, got it.

News Roundup 5/29/22

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

Let’s sort these by site:

NintendoLife

Alana Hauges:

Playable Build Of Cancelled N64 Game ‘SimCopter 64‘ Discovered. It was reported on Reddit, and the buyer was 707northbayer. They’ve expressed interest in having it dumped and preserved, yay! The game was developed with the prospect of it being able to share data with an also-canned N64 version of SimCity. While it looks a little different, in play it is said to be very similar to the PC version made by Maxis.

This N64 ROM Hack Turns Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Into A New Star Fox Adventures. The hack was created by a modder called Zel, and is titled Star Fox Conquest. It has a trailer on YouTube. Here’s Zel’s Twitter feed.

Liam Doolan:

Nintendo Expands Its Switch Online SNES And NES Service With Three More Titles. They are Congo’s Caper (SNES), Rival Turf (SNES) and Pinball (NES). Moving on!

Comicbook

Tyler Fischer:

Image source: IMDB

Xbox Users Can Buy Controversial Xbox 360 Game Again After 12 Years. It’s Sonic ’06. The game is Sonic ’06! Why hide it? The article would probably get more hits if the headline wasn’t coy about it.

Nintendo Switch Getting Major 2022 Game Late. It’s Lord of the Rings: Gollum. Again, no need to be coy about the title. Sheesh! Article also contains the mandatory description of what The Lord of the Rings is, as if that knowledge hasn’t been inescapable for over a decade now.

Ars Technica

Kyle Orland:

Are we on the verge of an 8K resolution breakthrough in gaming? Oh please no. There are 8K TVs already on the market, but they cost like $30,000. At least one TV maker is planning 8K console support, at a resolution of 7680×4320. Won’t this quadruple display lag? Why even bother if you don’t have a gigantic screen? You humans will be the death of me.

After 30 years, the world can now play the lost Marble Madness II. Familiar news to our readers! The article contains comments from Frank Cifaldi and Jason Scott saying the game isn’t good, which we greatly disagree with, but oh well.

IGN

Henry Stockdale: Review of Kao the Kangaroo. It’s a modern remake of a Dreamcast-exclusive platformer in the N64 style. It’s rated 7/10, called “refreshingly straightforward,” and is available for PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox X & S, Switch and PC. It can be completed in about 7-8 hours, similar in length to other indie 3D platformers like A Hat in Time. Pretty nice!

Rebekah Valentine: Valve Responds to #SaveTF2, Says It’s Working on Improvements. SaveTF2 is a Twitter hashtag of people complaining that the Team Fortress 2 online play experience has been ruined by prevalent bots. They have a point. Valve actually responded to it, surprising many including me. It is one of the few times they’ve acknowledge the long-lived team combat game since 2020. To think the source of hundreds of memes would be left to decay to this extent. I mean, it’s not like Valve is releasing many other games at the moment.

Nintendo

From an unknown writer, their Ask the Developer series talkes to the developers of Nintendo Switch Sports. Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

And the rest….

Eurogamer’s Ishraq Subhan: Reggie Fils-Aimé believes games industry “woefully behind” in embracing diversity. Two bits from the article: “For me as a Black man with my particular skin tone, hair, curls and everything else, it’s difficult to make a character look like me, and it shouldn’t be.” Fils-Aimé used an annecdote of his first E3 debut for Nintendo, where he was mistaken for security because he was a tall Black man in a suit.

Engadget’s D. Hardawar: Niantic’s Campfire app will finally let Pokémon Go players chat together. It’s about time.

Tom’s Hardware’s Ash Hill: Raspberry Pi Drives Custom Retro Gaming CRT TV. While HDTVs have their strengths, for reducing input lag, nothing beats a CRT.
The Twitter project thread.

Kotaku’s Isaiah Colbert: Upcoming One Piece JRPG Will Have Classic Turn-Based Combat, instead of the usual musou gameplay, or, alternatively, Breath of the Wild-style play. Coming out for PC, PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series X & S.

BoingBoing’s founder, Mark Frauenfelder: Bad Writer is “the most depressingly realistic writer’s life simulation I ever experienced” Well that certainly is a ringing endorsement! It’s an indie game created by Paul Jesup, available on itch for $3.99.

Video Games Chronicle’s Andy Robinson: Sony’s classic PlayStation games on PS Plus appear to be 50hz – even in non-PAL regions. First party PS1 games, and a few 3rd party titles, available as part of the PlayStation Plus service appear to be based on their PAL versions, running at slower framerates.
The reason the slower versions were used could be related to their language options, which would make supporting these games in multiple territories simpler. So far the games are only available in Asian markets, leaving it uncertain if this issue will affect games released in other territories.

Roguelikeliteish stuff:

The Verge’s Ash Parrish: No Man’s Sky’s newest expedition turns it into a roguelike. The update’s called “Leviathan.” In this case “roguelike” it means it has permadeath, resetting progress after death, but with some elements contributing to persistant progression between attempts.

Rock Paper Shotgun’s Alice O’Connor: This cool roguelike mockup looks like screenshots printed in an old magazine. Images are not of a real game, but are instead computer mockups created to show off a Blender shader. They’re cool though! You supply the shader an image, and it makes it look like it was originally printed in a magazine. It’s pay-what-you-want on itch.io!

“Who’s Jr. Pac-Man? There never was a Jr. Pac-Man. I’m your son now.”

And finally, GoNintendo’s rawmeatcowboy informs us that PAC-MAN Museum+ replaces multiple members of PAC-MAN’s family. Pac-Jr. replaced with Pac-Boy! Little Pac-Baby replaced with Pac-Sis! Dogpac Chomp Chomp replaced with “Pac-Buddy!” The reason probably being Namco doesn’t completely own the rights to some of these characters, and doesn’t want to license them. Particularly, GCC created Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Jr., Bally/Midway created Baby Pac-Man, and Hanna-Barbera created Chomp Chomp. Professor Pac remains, probably because Namco doesn’t realize the character was created for a Bally/Midway game!

News Roundup 5/27/22

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

Scott Hayden at Road To VR notes that a VR roguelike called “OUTLIER,” all-caps, has been cancelled, with a reason given that might seem unusual: they overestimated demand. They also say that they underestimated the complexity of the roguelike genre, which I can certainly sympathize with. It’s being remove from the Steam store. People who bought the game on Steam Early Access can either keep it or ask for a refund. I wonder if someday having a notable delisted project in your Steam library might be seen as a mark of status, in some circles?

Over on BoingBoing (they still exist!) there’s a couple of interesting posts. By Popkin, there’s a video from a Nintendo arcade game from 1976 called Sky Hawk, that used 16mm film footage of remote-controlled fighter planes to provide targets for players to hit! It was a shooting-gallery kind of game, where the whole game is hitting targets. Here’s the video on YouTube.

And long-time Boinger David Pescovitz presents a demo for a failed 1982 educational technology program with the name Wired In, that entertaining in its early 80s way. It has clips of Bill Murray providing some entertaining moments, and a tongue-in-cheek PSA from Lily Tomlin about the dangers of Pac-Man addiction.

Steve Hogarly at Rock Paper Shotgun appreciates My Time At Sandrock for PC, a “wild west” town simulation game. Yes, Stardew Valley is mentioned.

At The Chozo Project (which doesn’t seem to be overtly Metroid-themed), Zach Lindermann reviews the Sega Nomad, a portable system that’s capable of playing Genesis games, a mere 25 years after its release.

Claire Jackson over at Kotaku talks about the refreshing repairability of the Steam Deck.

Okay, this one requires a little explanation. There’s a community on the internet. What’s it about? Generally speaking, nearly anything, but this one is devoted to constructing homebrew “cyberdecks,” (Reddit link) self-contained portable computers whose design brings to mind cyberpunk fiction. Liliputing’s Brad Linder presents one that uses for its internals the guts of a Framework modular laptop.

Ryan Dinsdale at IGN reports that Jonathan Jacque-Belletête of Eidos Montréal noted that their studio had for a time been working on Final Fantasy XV, before Square-Enix decided to return the project to its Japanese studios.

Stuart Gipp at NintendoLife presents us with a history of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle video games on Nintendo systems.

And, the website High Five For has a number of lists of 25 games on various system that they consider to still be interesting now, years after their obsolescence: NESSNESPS1Genesis/Mega DriveGame Boy AdvanceTurboGrafx 16/PC Engine.

Link Roundup 2/24/22

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

Nicole Clark at Polygon wants us to know of a free video card game based on Pokemon that isn’t derived from the physical CCG! It’s called Pokemon Crystal League, it’s free on itch.io, and it’s instead inspired by the first portion of Inscryption. As with anything so directly related to a Nintendo property, you should probably look into getting this before it’s too late-assuming it even makes it to press time!

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
(image source: StudioMDHR)

Also at Polygon: Cian Maher’s 14 “most exciting” games of the summer, which contains a Gloomhaven computer game update, Super Mario Strikers, Capcom Fighting Collection, and Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course.

At CBR, Gina notes evidence that the character of Magil in Chrono Cross is actually Magus from Chrono Trigger incognito, something fans had long suspected.

Back once again to the crossover fighter genre. Zack Zwiezen at Kotaku looks at WB’s Multiversus and asks, with some justification, if all pop culture is merging into a thick homogeneous paste. It is, after all, a game in which The Iron Giant can team up with Velma from Scooby-Doo to fight against Batman and Tom & Jerry. Space Jam: A New Legend certainly seems to imply WB is heading in that direction.

D. Hardawar at Engadget tells us that EVE Online can now be played streaming with just a web browser and a strong-enough internet connection. The new format is called EVE Anywhere. I mean, why not? The game is already sometimes derisively refereed to as a spreadsheet simulator, so why not build Google Docs support into it too?

At NintendoLife, Liam Doolan points to a Twitter post from the account of Sonic Mania developer Headcannon, where they state, while some of their work appears on the upcoming Sonic Origins, they did not directly work on it themselves.

Also from Liam Doolan: Nintendo files a patent for a method to fight online cheating and software modification. We take the view here that all software patents are bad by definition, but at least they’re trying to do something about cheating in their games? While the article has an illustration from a Splatoon game, there is actually nothing to say which games will utilize this technique.

Syphon Filter
(image source: Retro Gamer)

While we’re talking about software patents, Sony got one for adding trophy support to classic games. Owen S. God at Polygon says that feature is coming to the rerelease of Syphon Filter on Playstation Plus, and, presumably, to other games afterward. (I wonder if the RetroArch achievements server counts as prior art here?)

Ryan Dinsdale, a freelancer working for IGN (hey! hire him!), tell us that Marcus Nebelong at Dreams developer Media Molecule has recreated the Unreal Engine 5 train station demo in that software.

Finally, from way over on Video Games Chronicle, Jordan Middler mentions that Xbox S sales in Japan exceeded PlayStation 5 sales last week. It’s the first time something like this has happened in eight years! It seems likely that the limited number of PS5s available to be sold might explain the difference. The PS5 still has a higher install base in Japan compared to the Series S, by 8-to-1, but in the past year the Series S has exceeded the entire lifetime sales of the Xbox Series X. Since the release of the original Xbox back in the PS2/Gamecube era, only 2.3 million units have been sold across the entire line, most of them being sales of the 360.