News 2/2/2022: Konami, Link to the Past, Listicles

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

My cell walls are feeling kind of rigid at the moment due to a computer issue that caused me to lose the first draft of this post. All of my witty remarks, lost to the electronic void. You missed out on my entertaining usage of the phrase “odoriferous blorpy.” Truly we are in the worst timeline. It’s all left me feeling kind of cranky, let’s get through it quickly this week.

Ted Litchfield at PC Gamer on a RuneScape player playing a minigame for eight years and turn turning in all his progress at once. RuneScape is an early MMORPG that began in 2001.

Several things to do with Konami, a once-great publisher that’s become pretty hidebound lately:

Dustin Bailey at GamesRadar: fans are working on a PC remake of Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. I’m sure this won’t get obliterated by legal threats. They should have gone with the cheeky route taken by The Transylvania Adventure of Simon Quest. The article mentions that its creators consider the fact that many townsfolk lie to you to be a problem, instead of awesome as it really is.

Charles Harte at Gamespot organ Game Informer says Dead Cells’ upcoming Castlevania-themed DLC is really big.

Also from Charles Harte, Konami is shutting down their recently-released game CRIMESIGHT, not just removing it from the Steam store but even making it unplayable. Great way to reward people giving you money, K. It’s not even a year old yet!:

Tyler Wilde, also from PC Gamer, on a $2,000 game on Steam and what it’s about. Summarized: it costs $2,000 but is short enough that people can finish it within the return period, and it amounts to a screed against women. Blech!

Dean Howell at Neowin: a fan-made decompilation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past can now be compiled for Windows and (presumably if your device is jailbroken) Switch.

Christ Moyse at Destructoid tells us that Taito’s classic The New Zealand Story is coming to the Arcade Archives series. Gandalf could not be reached at press time for comment.

Two listicles:

Zoey Handley at Destructoid on the 10 best NES soundtracks. The list is Bucky O’Hare, Kirby’s Adventure, Castlevania 3 (Japanese version), Contra, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros. 2, Mega Man 2, Castlevania II, Journey to Silius, and… Silver Surfer?

Gavin Lane and the NintendoLife staff on the 50 best SNES games. The list is compiled algorithmically from reader scores, and can change even after publication. At this time, the top ten are, starting from $10: Donkey Kong Country 2, Earthbound, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV, Super Mario RPG, Yoshi’s Island, Final Fantasy III, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario World on top.

Tom Phillips at EuroGamer mentions that the original developers of Goldeneye 007, recently rereleased after 25 years on Switch and Xbox platforms, were a bit miffed that they weren’t asked to participate in the festivities. At the time most of its developers were completely new to the game industry, and they’ve been generally snubbed by its publishers in talking about the new versions. Does feel pretty shabby, Nintendo and Microsoft!

Andrew Liezewski at Gizmodo talks about the graphics in an upcoming Mario 64 hack made by Kaze Emanuar. I’ve followed Kaze’s hacking videos quite a bit (I think one’s been posted on Set Side B before), and the optimizations they’ve made to Mario 64’s engine are amazing, not only eliminating lag but great increasing its frame rate and making it look better to boot.

And, at Kotaku, Isaiah Colbert reports on various things being done to celebrate Final Fantasy VII’s 26th birthday, including official recognition in Japan of “Final Fantasy VII day” and a crossover with Power Wash Simulator. Maybe they can do something about cleaning out all the grunge from Midgar, that city could use a bath.

News 1/24/22: Pokemon Collecting, Universal Mario World, Commodore 64 of Theseus

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

Let’s make it quick this week-

Oli Welsh at Polygon tells us what we already knew, that No Zelda Game is Closer to Breath of the Wild Than The 1986 Original. We can’t recommend it whole-heartedly though because it gets in some digs on the older game, saying it’s nowhere near as much fun as Link to the Past, a statement I disagree with.

Hope Bellingham at GamesRadar tells us that U.S. Customs wrecked a sealed-in-box copy of Pokemon Yellow valued at over $10,000. I rather disagree with that valuation too. I thought all the misguided young people were losing their money in crypto these days? (Note: GamesRadar is one of those sites that waits until you start reading an article then puts up a blocking box begging you to subscribe. Hint to GamesRadar: NO, and if I were interested in subscribing my generous impulse would have been destroyed by your prompt!)

Image from The Guardian, probably ultimately from a promotional photograph

At the Guardian, the very British-named Oliver Wainwright reviews Super Mario World, not the game but the theme park in California, a part of Universal Studios Hollywood. The verdict: 8/10, good graphics, some replay value. I’ve been in a melancholy frame of mind as of late, so seeing those brightly-painted dioramas makes me wonder what they’ll look like in twenty years, when Universal Studios’ attentions have drifted to another big thing. Nothing ages quite as badly as a happy prop painted in primary colors.

I said I was going to make this quick, let’s keep moving. Maya Posch at hackaday talks about a project to build a Commodore 64 using new parts.

Ollie Reynolds found some Donkey Kong design documents on Twitter, from the days when it was planned to be a Popeye game. He found them retweeted by blogfriend Mike Mika of Digital Eclipse, who in turn found them looking through Mario history site Forest of Illusion.

News 1/5/2022: DidYouKnowGaming, Pocket Card Jockey, Unionization

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

Hiya hiya hiya Earth pleps, it’s your favorite alien gaming newscaster, here again with all the news that’s fit to blorp! Let’s get underway–

Ethan Gach at Kotaku notes that Nintendo had a video from DidYouKnowGaming about a failed pitch for a Zelda game that Retro Studios put together, but DYKG managed to get it reversed! Judging by the fact that like 90% of the posts on this blog seem to be about Nintendo one way or another you might think we’d be on their side in this, but nuh-uh! Nintendo abuses copyright law way too much, it’s good that this video was allowed to stand, yet it’s bad that ultimately Nintendo doesn’t suffer from these egregious actions. They can effectively throw out these legal threats with impunity, and their fans will just forgive them every time! I know that it certainly makes us feel a little bad about talking up their games so much!

So, more Nintendo stuff. At NintendoLife, Ollie Reynolds says that 2023 will be the year of 3DS GamePass. They even got an unshaven video maker on their staff to make the case for it. I mean, we’d like nothing better than to see that, but Nintendo themselves largely gave up on the 3DS and all its features years ago. It’s a nice thought though!

Pocket Card Jockey
Official image, from the Mobygames site

Also from Reynolds, good news: Pocket Card Jockey is getting a new edition! And they call it Game Freak’s secret best game! Yes, sweet vendication! And to think they gave its 3DS incarnation a “solid” 7 out of 10 at its release. But wait, there’s also bad news: it’s not coming to the Switch! It’s an exclusive release for Apple Arcade! Seems pretty boneheaded to me, but I don’t have an internal skeleton so what do I know?

While we’re on the subject of folk with heads of bone, Chris Moyse at Destructoid tells us that, in one of the most ridiculous decisions within memory, Square-Enix is doubling down on blockchain support in their games.

Mega Man Battle Network
Image from Mobygames

We love it when we can link to an article outside our usual stable, so here’s an article originally published in Japanese on Rockman Unity, translated into English and presented on Rockman Corner, an interview with the director of Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection about its upcoming release. Those games don’t get nearly the love they’re due, and it’s nice to see them given another chance to shine. Particularly, we’re told that the link cable battle play of the original games has been replaced with online matchmaking!

And to continue the upbeat tone at the end of our post this week, an article on Vice from Emanuel Maiberg about the formation of the biggest union in the US games industry!

News 12/28/22: ASCII Dwarves, eShop Shutdowns, Ecco the Dolphin

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

Computer issues kept me from filing last week’s report. That is the reason. It is not true that I got so drunk at a Globmas Party that my chemical composition was 50% alcohol. Don’t listen to those rumors! Let us begin.

Image from PCGamesN

Dwarf Fortress’ Steam Edition is still the toast of the gaming blogoglobe! A recent update lets you use the original version’s ASCII graphics instead of the high-falutin’ new pixel art skin. So proclaimeth Ian Boudreau at PCGamesN!

It’s funny. Corbin Davenport writes an article at How-To Geek titled Atari’s New Gaming Console Isn’t Dead Yet. But it’s URL is: https://www.howtogeek.com/855757/ataris-new-gaming-console-is-dead/ Don’t you love how URL slugs can reveal a piece’s working title? The article itself is more about how it’s mostly dead, so someone call Miracle Max.

Gavin Lane at NintendoLife discusses the upcoming shutdown of the 3DS and WiiU eShops. You haven’t been able to add funds for a while through the stores, although you could still add them using the Switch’s shop then use that money to buy there. The piece mentions that Nintendo has been almost anxious to close the shops, due to poor sales of the WiiU. You’ll still be able to download purchased software… for a while.

Also at NintendoLife, Liam Doolan interviews a couple of people at Wayforward about River City Girls 2! It turns out that planning began almost immediately after RCG1 wrapped up.

Tom Ivan. Video Games Chronicle. Microsoft and Activision have filed responses to the FTC complaint about their merger being anti-competitive. Creatures of my species are capable of merging together into one blobby whole, which is admittedly quite fun on a boring Saturday night, but none of us are corporations that control massive segments of the console gaming market!

Related, Jezz Corden of Windows Central reports that Microsoft is claiming that Sony’s influence will prevent four specific games from ever reaching the Xbox console platform: Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy 16 (shouldn’t that be XVI?), Silent Hill 2 Remake, and Bloodborne.

And finally, at The Ringer, M.D. Rodrigues writes a long piece about the legacy of the Sega Genesis Ecco the Dolphin games.

News 12/15/22

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

Scott Stein at CNet (they’re still around) says his favorite gadget of the year was the Playdate.

Wes Fenlon at PC Gamer says that Tarn and Zach Adams, have become millionaires from the Steam release of Dwarf Fortress. Earth blogger John Harris, a.k.a. rodneylives, says they’ve communicated with Tarn several times, including a couple of interviews at Game Developer (formerly Gamasutra), and that this could not have happened to nicer people. The article notes that, despite the windfall, they’re being cautious with the money. Steam DF was made specifically because the brothers need healthcare, and whatever long tail DF has is pretty much it, since they aren’t making a sequel or expansion pack.

Image from Mobygames

At Inverse, Mo Mozuch describes the accomplishments of Carol Shaw, creator of Activision’s Atari VCS hit River Raid, one of the first vertically-scrolling shooters, and early woman pioneer in gamedev.

Rock Paper Shotgun’s C.J. Wheeler tells of a situation where the developer and publisher of The Outbound Ghost are feuding, which resulted in the game being temporarily pulled from Steam. Lead dev Conrad Grindheim has accused publisher Digerati of unethical practices, and Digerati claims to have been “blindsided” by the accusations.

Anthony Wood at IGN has a piece noting that, while Sonic Frontiers certainly has vocal detractors, that hasn’t stopped it from selling 2.5 million copies!

Image from PC Gamer

There is a great article on PC Gamer from Corwin Hayward about controversy with a certain extremely rare mount in World of Warcraft that, due to a couple of bugs, became extremely unrare among a small base of players for a short while. It’s a primer about the way the game’s loot system has been perceived and exploited for over a decade, and how it finally resulted in the relaxing of a whole category of ultrarare mounts. The article is long but very rewarding!

NPG’s Megan Lim speaks with Atari founder Nolan Bushnell on 50 years of Pong. Bushnell’s always been a bit of a huckster figure, but I’m glad he’s still kicking and talking with folk.

Scott McCree at Nintendo Life has a review of River City Girls 2 from favorite developer Wayforward! His premise is that it’s great, but ultimately not really differentiated from the original that much?

News 12/8/22: Akka Arrh, Steam Dwarf Fortress, Sexy Game Flyers

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

Hello blobs! Welcome again to our recognizable brand of snarky response to gaming media which I am given to understand has not been seen anywhere else over the past 30 years of the internet! I’m so original! Let’s get started….

Image from Lost Media Wiki. To think, until recently there were only three Akka Arrh units in existence, jealously guarded by their owners, and now, it has its own official website and Steam page.

Well it looks like Atari had the same idea we did regarding putting some of its neglected prototypes out there! Not only has their classic-era unproduced game AKKA ARRH (it’s fun to say!) playable in the Atari 50th Anniversary collection, but W. Shanklin at Engadget tells us it’s getting a remake! One quib with the article though, it says it didn’t get made because it was too hard, but playing it in the Anniversary collection I got rather a few waves in, on my first try? They got Jeff Minter on board for the remake, so you know it’ll be A. great, B. trippy, and C. have cheeky ungulates in there somewhere!

Keith Stuart at the Guardian visited Play Leisure, a UK company that refurbishes and resells classic arcade machines! It’s always nice when we here at Set Side B can link to a Real Publication, something that gets pressed in ink onto paper, that may have a shelf life, and not be purchased by Ziff-Davis and then rapidly shut down.

At PC Gamer, Ted Litchfield mentions surprise at learning that Bungie’s first three FPSes have been available free on the internet for over a decade. I am sure that the free availability of the Marathon games is something that was once generally known about. You remember Marathon, right? Back when Bungie only produced games for Macs? It HAPPENED, honest!

PC Gamer additional item! Joshua Wolens mentions that the Steam version of Dwarf Fortress hit its two-month sales goal in 24 hours! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer elaborate dwarf death simulator! Let’s spin the Wheel of Mortality, it could come up Goblins, Vampires, Forgotten Beasts, Were-Things, Demons, Fluid Physics, or Dwarf Psychosis!

Stay classy, Konami.

Zoey Handley at Destructoid sparks a dozen internet flamewars with their article listing the 5 best N64 games! Guess what you think they’ll be. My guesses are Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Star Fox 64 and, oh, Mario Party. The answers: Majora and Star Fox, but then they chose Ogre Battle 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and F-Zero X. Which, yes they’re good, but over Ocarina? (Well honestly I think Ocarina of Time is a little overrated, but it’s usually a safe bet? Oh well, to the next item.)

This is the game that the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs sued maker Taito over, because they claimed ownership over the concept of the nearly naked jungle guy. The nearly naked jungle girl depicted in the flyer above was not a factor.

Truly, there is no demographic out there more vulnerable to the marketing wiles of the sexy poster babe than middle-aged male business owners, and the arcade industry has long known this. Rare Historical Photos has a collection of arcade flyers, 90% of which feature variations of the scantly-clad promo lady. Konami’s U.S. division in particular made a lot of use out of them. Those ladies look like they do all their shopping at Girls’s Costume Warehouse.

And Sorrel Ker-Jung at Destructoid reminds us that we don’t have to care about the “Game Awards.” They don’t even have a catchy name like the Oscars, Emmys or Tonys. I wouldn’t even trust them to come up with a good name, because it’d probably be something hamfisted and too-obvious, like the “Miyamoto,” or the “Wright.” Bah!

News 12/1/22: DABLOONS

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

Quite a bit to get through today! Pull up a florb and moop for a bit!

Luke Plunkett at Kotaku informs us of Nintendo pulling support from the third-party tournament Smash World Tour, leaving them in a gigantic financial hole. This will severely harm tournaments’ willingness to trust Nintendo in the future, and the esports scene around future Nintendo products. Nintendo’s response at the end is especially frustrating, claiming they did not request any events be cancelled while still denying SWT a license, forcing them to cancel anyway.

Benj Edwards at Ars Technica: an AI from Nvidia can play Minecraft now, performing tasks based on text prompts. Congrats, you’ve invented a 10-year-old!

Image from Wario 64’s Twitter feed

After our initial post, I’ve purposely been trying not to talk up the Super Mario Bros. movie, but I do think this post from Ryan Leson at IGN is of interest, about Shigeru Miyamoto noting that Donkey Kong’s been a bit redesigned for the movie, still recognizably the Rare-made version of the character, but with some adjustments to more resemble the original version.

Here’s Rich Stanton at PC Gamer on the effort to preserve a Ridge Racer Full Scale, a version of the arcade game that featured an actual car chassis the player would sit it, had triple ultra-wide display, and cost operators $250,000. Very few were sold, and it’s possible only one survives, which was in Blackpool. After an arcade museum sought to purchase it, but refused when they learned of damage to the frame, it was thought lost, but although the physical structure of the unit has not been salvageable, the car portion and the hardware have been saved, and its code dumped. More can be read at Arcade Blogger.

Yep! I’m old.

Richael Watts at Rock Paper Shotgun has a piece up on Dabloontok, an RPG-ish thing a bunch of people are doing on TikTok, involving cat videos trading an imaginary currency called “dabloons.” This isn’t imaginary in the sense of crptocurrency, or indeed all money when you think about it; this is really imaginary. How many you have is completely on the honor system. Participants use it to “trade” with these cats, and they can also be “stolen” by them. The whole thing seems pretty silly overall, but it’s entertaining to learn about!

And at Engadget, I. Bonifacic remarks upon Pong turning 50 years old. Yeah, that number isn’t getting any smaller. It’s a useful retrospective, although I take issue with them saying that without Pong Nintendo would not exist. Nintendo is over a century old, originally making playing cards. What is more likely is they wouldn’t exist as we know them today-they may not have gotten into video games at all. (By the way, they make traditional Japanese game playing equipment too, like go boards!)

News 11/16/22: Ubisoft on Steam, Mac System 9 on Wii

“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 few days! It’s been Globmas on our planet which has filled up my time with various gelatinous timewastes. I gather that the situation has been similar down on Earth, with the advent of an event that I hear is called “Dark Friday.” I hope that soon you manage to unseat whatever terrible villain has been causing you so much trouble.

Because of Dark Friday filling blogs, there seems to be less good news to convey to you this time out. I only have a couple of articles to recommend.

Kyle Orland at Ars Technica tells us that Ubisoft has come crawling back to Steam, after snubbing the service for a while in favor of the Epic Game Store. Exclusivity is awful of course, although it does sometimes give us some pretty nice deals as various strategists and marketers jockey with each other in order to convince customers to join up with their places of market. In Epic’s case, these deals have sometimes been free games, although often what is given away is simply the base or least-featured version of some product. Anyway. I don’t even buy many games at the moment but I still have four game store apps on my PC: Steam, Epic, GOG and itch.io. Of them, Steam and itch are the ones that I actually like. GOG and itch’s apps are in fact optional, although convenient. I suspect that many other people and blobs have the same opinion.

Image from Pierre Dandomont’s blog

Jenny List at Hack-A-Day tells us of a French hacker named Pierre Dandomont that has gotten Mac OS 9 running on an unmodified Wii! Now before you have visions of running Glider on your TV, there are a whole raft of caveats. The Wii’s hardware is unmodified, granted, but to run anything that Nintendo didn’t approve on your machine you are going to have to modify its software. Mac OS 9 is not unmodified, for while the Wii has a Power PC chip similar to that which used to run Mac computers two whole platform changes ago, the rest of its hardware is unstandard to say the least. And while they did manage to get OS 9 running (not OS X, a.k.a. macOS, or any of its more modern updates), it is not in a form that one can just easily drop into their own Wii if they want to run original iTunes for some reason. The hacker themselves tell us that it’s not really a good way to run classic Mac software, which is actually being run on an emulation layer within Linux running on the Wii. So, probably not something you’re going to do yourself, but maybe interesting to read about?

News 11/2/2022: Emptying the Ol Bile Gland

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

I’m back! I’ve been bobbing and blobbing around internet slimepools and have dredged from their murky depths the latest gaming information for your consumption! Yum!

Engadget’s Kris Holt tells us that the graphic-based Steam version of Dwarf Fortress is on the way! It’ll cost $30, which it is possible to be dismayed by, except that if there’s any game that offers depth and content worth at least $30, it’s Dwarf Fortress. The version will have not only graphics but a tutorial and updated UI! And the free version will continue to be updated! Dwarf Fortress is going with a paid version because its creators, being not electronic dwarves but actual human being people, need money to live. Please, help them to live!

Liam Doolan at Nintendo Life: Mario Party 1 and 2 are coming to Switch Online’s Expansion Pack. I wonder if the games will destroy Joycons as thoroughly as it did N64 joysticks?

K. Thor Jensen for PC Magazine writes about what he considers the 10 worst arcade conversions of all. They cover a number of likely suspects. Atari 2600 Pac-Man, NES 720°, GBA Mortal Kombat, GBA Marble Madness, PC Thunder Blade, Amiga Street Fighter II, NES Ikari Warriors, 2600 Double Dragon, PS1 X-Men vs Street Fighter, and C64 Cisco Heat. But, I dunno, there are a lot of awful computer ports of arcade games floating around out there. Given the time I could probably redo the whole list, but PC Magazine isn’t paying me to do it. Plus, that kind of negativity is more the Gripe Monster’s lawn.

Ryan Dinsdale at IGN tells us that Microsoft loses from $100 to $200 on every Xbox X and S they sell. Aaahahaha! Yes my minions, exult with me in the misfortune of a major console manufacturer, for no good reason than sheer ill will! Er. Sorry, I let the evil out of my brain for a moment there.

At Kotaku, John Walker says that Playstation Plus has lost two million subscribers after its relaunch! Haahaha! Revel in their misfortune! Giant corporations will destroy the earth, at least they suffer very slightly every once in a great while! Oops, sorry again, I really need to get my bile gland emptied more often. The article mentions that the higher-priced tiers mean Sony is actually making more money now anyway.

News 10/28/22

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

Pretty light this time out. Jordan Carroll at Polygon tells of how Games Workshop is fighting fascists trying to use Warhammer 40,000 to promote their odious worldview. WH40K’s Earth empire began as an over-the-top parody of fascist dystopias in fiction and games, then when they decided to really push the grim darkness of the setting and toned down the jokes, it started to look a lot more like they were justifying fascism. In an article on their website, Games Workshop says the Imperium is driven by hate, Warhammer is not, and they state in that article: “Like so many aspects of Warhammer 40,000, the Imperium of Man is satirical.” No word yet on if the exorbitant cost of fielding an army of Citadel Miniatures is one of the satirical elements.

Games Workshop also says Hello Kitty is not a part of Warhammer 40K.
Who’s this guy again? A mirror universe Flash?

John Walker at Kotaku brings us more news of the dissolution of ZA/UM, developer of indie hit Disco Elysium: one of the writers that had been “forced out” of the company is suing its remnants. Hard information is still difficult to come by, with some allegations that control over the franchise is being sought by the game’s UK investors. Read the article for more, I don’t feel like I have a good grasp of the situation with my gelatinous brain.

Andy Chalk at PC Gamer tells us that Terraria has become the first “indie hit” to break a million positive reviews on Steam. Seems like a worthy milestone!

Back at Polygon, Ryan Dinsdale reports of Black Adam being added to the cast of Multiversus… oh, and the addition of a new Arcade Mode. I think they may have buried the lede on that one, if they added an Arcade Mode I might have to consider playing it! Can we field amiibos too? Probably not? Darn.

News 10/13/2022: Flee Before The Sight of Black Box Zelda!

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

Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, on using AI to smooth out the features of Virtua Fighter’s characters. Not in real time, and the results are cherry-picked, and look generic as opposed to the distinctive look of the original game. Still, there you go, people tell me this means art is dead somehow.

Just imagine if this were the box that launched the Zelda ship.
(Image from MrTalida’s twitter feed.)

Noted on Twitter by Frank Cifaldi, then cropped and zoomed by MrTalida on Twitter, then called attention to by threads on ResetEra and Reddit (inhale!) then reported on by a plethora of gaming sites, Cifaldi found a picture of an early version of the box-art of The Legend of Zelda in Nintendo press materials form the time, using the original “black box” trade dress, and it is funky.

Rich Stanton at PC Gamer, on when the mods of Ultima Online (remember them? they’re still around!) destroyed the (in-game) possessions of item duplicators. Ultimately, as my link is a link to theirs, so too is PC Gamer’s link one to the original post, so have a link to that too. And if you want to check in with a bona-fide living piece of gaming history, and the last surviving real Ultima game, here is Ultima Online’s website. They just celebrated 25 years of operation!

A dragon-infested day in Brittania.
Screenshot from Mobygames.

Finally, it’s not directly related to games, but you should read this article from TechSpot about the Internet Archive’s efforts to preserve websites in this age of paywalls and walled gardens. While content creators deserve to be paid for their efforts, the fact that so much is locked up means a lot of things are just going to vanish when their hosting sites, sometimes when an account at a hosting site, closes up. Please consider that when you publish. Preservation matters.

News 10/6/2022: Deku Stick, Stadia’s Demise, Chaos;Head Noah

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

Ollie Reynolds at Nintendo Life reports on why the Deku Stick item in Link’s hands looks different between Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. It has to do with a subtle texture reference error.

Oli Welsh, demonstrating that there’s nothing good that can last, tells us that three Disco Elysium developers have left the company. Details are scarce, but it seems it was not by choice. Is it possible that there’s an NDA involved, or else, a non-disparagment clause?

At TechCrunch, Devin Coldewey claims that Stadia, Google’s streaming gaming service that they just finally killed, died because no one trusts them to keep anything alive. I still remember (and tend to repeatedly mention) how frustrated I was when they killed Google Reader back in 2013, in order to make way for a social networking service that no one remembers, and that feeling never really went away.

Chaos;Head Noah, screenshot from Mobygames

Kyle Orland at Ars Technica mentions a visual novel Spike Chunsoft is releasing for Switch that they’ve cancelled for Steam, due to mandated content changes by Valve. The game is called Chaos;Head Noah (their punctuation, not mine), and was originally released for the Xbox 360, with a Vita re-release, that both received very restrictive ratings. Later releases had an edited script which allowed it to be released with a lighter rating, which an anonymous source says is the version to be released on Switch (and not on Steam). Chaos;Head Noah is a sequel to the previous Chaos;Head, and both are part of the same series as Steins;Gate.

The mainstream gaming press suffered another blow. John Walker writing for Kotaku mentions that the ubiquitous Fandom wiki empire, formerly known as Wikia, has purchased a variety of other websites, including Gamespot, GameFAQs, and Giant Bomb, in addition to TV Guide, Metacritic, Cord Cutters News and Comic Vine. The NetHack Wiki changed over from Wikia many years ago, yet Fandom’s out-of-date version of it still confuses Google search results today. And it doesn’t feel great that so many properties have their primary source of knowledge about them owned by one business, which now engulfing a much larger percentage of the fan media landscape. I point you again to the line in our sidebar that says, “Just say no to Fandom.com!” And yet, if you want to find information on some things, Fandom sites are largely inescapable.

Final Fantasy V, image from Mobygames

Marshall Honorof at Tom’s Hardware goes through the six English releases of Final Fantasy V and tells you which is the best to play-although, pointedly, it is challenging to buy these days. It contains a screed about game preservation that I am entirely on board with.

Video Games Chronicle’s Jordan Middler discusses a Bloomberg report that controversial Activision chief compliance officer Francis Townsend has stepped down, a former Bush administration officer who was unpopular with both fans and employees for not addressing reports of harassment.