News 9/29/2022: Dire Tidings From Texas

“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 slow day at the news desk, blobs and blobbies. Just three items-

Mollie Taylor at PC Gamer tells us that Atlus is suing fans for reviving an old MMORPG of theirs, Shin Megami Tenshin Imagine Online. A particularly galling part of the article: “The suit claims the fan server has ’caused and will continue to cause irreparable damage to Atlus unless restrained by this Court,’ despite the servers being dead for over six years.” Not cool, Atlus! Of course, the law is complex, and very often on the internet the law being violated is not the one you think it is at first, be this seems particularly egregious.

Nintendo Life has an article by Gavin Lane on which Zelda title players should try first, and of course you just know I’d have to link it as an excuse to get in my two gelatinous cents! I really think people should try the original Legend of Zelda first! It’s hard, oooooh yes it is drebnar, and you’ll die a lot, but that’s what makes it fun! It’s not like you lose much when you die either. The article’s own argument (which you’ll have to read to get Gavin’s reasoning) is: Ocarina of Time, Link to the Past, Breath of the Wild, and Wind Waker.

And a group of writers headed by Rachel Watts at Rock Paper Shotgun report on their favorite indie titles from out of EGX 2022.

Finally, if I might talk about a non-gaming issue that affects all of us on the web… the U.S. Fifth Appeals Court has made a horrendous, head-scratching decision that could easily turn social media into a hailstorm of spam and misinformation, at best. The Atlantic has an article up called Is This The Beginning of the End of the Internet, and from what I’ve seen so far it’s possible? It all has to do with a Texas law that forbids social media from “censoring” people’s feeds, saying if they have 50 million users they no longer have First Amendment rights. Of course the law is complex (as I mentioned above), and the effects of this decision, if it isn’t overturned or outright nullified by an eventual law, will spill out in several directions. But those of us remembering the era leading up to the election of the Terrible Orange Man will remember the kinds of things that floated around Facebook at that time. This looks like it might open the already-leaky floodgates, and, at the very least, turn social media sites into unusable hellholes. For more, you probably should read the article-provided The Atlantic doesn’t ward it from your sight with a paywall. It’s nearly the end of the month, if you’re out of free articles they should reset soon. That’s the way it works, right?

Nintendo Direct, September 2022

Nintendo released a new Nintendo Direct yesterday, and everyone in the gamesphere is posting about it as they always do. I suppose we should say something too. While it’s not directly related to our subject matter, Nintendo is as niche as a major game publisher gets, so I believe I can find room for it.

First, here’s the video if you care to watch it yourself (the relevent part is about 45 minutes long, I’ve cued it up to the content):

In summary:

Not to bury the lede like Nintendo usually does, the last trailer was about the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, subtitled Tears of the Kingdom. I think they should just call every game Magical Thingumy, but no one ever listens to good sense. The given release date is May 20, 2023, so, not much longer to wait. Despite the closeness of its release, even less was presented about the game than the last time it showed up in a Nintendo Direct!

Fire Emblem Engage seems to offer crossovers between characters from prior games, including Marth himself, Mr. Fire Emblem, the hero of the first game. I mean all the big game companies seem to be falling over themselves to cross their games and even series together into a thick homogeneous paste, why should Nintendo be any different? Arguably they started the whole trend with Smash Bros. anyway. Fire Emblem has been to this well once before with the mobile app Fire Emblem Heroes. Release date: January 20.

A crossover between Fitness Boxing and Fist of the North Star, the anime property no one’s been clamoring for. “Box with familiar characters.” Sure, like, um, that guy. Hatatatatatatata! I’d explain more, but you’re already dead.

OddBallers, a party game for up to six players. Tunic makes it to Switch, where it should probably have debuted. Remakes of Front Missions 1 and 2 (first time out of Japan for the second), with 3 coming in the future.

New release Splatoon 3 (what, it’s out already?) is getting its first Splatfest. Mario Strikers Battle League is getting new characters Pauline and Diddy Kong.

Octopath Traveler 2 is coming and it looks the same, and a new Final Fantasy Theatrhythm (with a ton of DLC of course).

The original Mario + Rabbids took a lot of people by surprised with its deep gameplay, and it even somehow made the Rabbids more fun than annoying. Other than a couple of minor gameplay features (exploring, Sparks), and maybe playable Bowser, the only really new information was its release date of October 20. I mean, there’s pre-order bonuses and a season pass, but it’d almost be more news if those weren’t going to be offered.

Let’s keep rolling with that farming theme. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is getting remade as Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life. Why change the brand? Are there rights issues around the original? Turns out, yes. Jessica Thomas lays it all out for us at thegamer.com.

More farming! New games called Fae Farm and Harvestella. I guess if you’ve completely exhausted all of Stardew Valley’s many many features and updates and are still not farmed out, there you go. You could also go out and get some seeds and plant your own garden, unless you live in the city, you poor soul. Still, this way has far less back-breaking labor, and you don’t have to smell manure.

Even more farming! Your feed trough runneth over! Rune Factory 3 is being remade, and another Rune Factory series is coming.

Playing these things since the Atari VCS days has inoculated me against a lot of hype, but the me that played Goldeneye back in college would have been thrilled by this.

A bevy of new N64 games is coming to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, including, Pilotwings 64, Mario Parties 1-3, Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2, 1080 Snowboarding, Excitebike 64, and, amazingly, Goldeneye 007 with online multiplayer. I am practically certain that rights issues will have required that it be modified in some way, but that it has managed to come out at all is amazing considering the James Bond property’s owners, and that Nintendo and game creator Rare are nowhere near as close as they were back then. I’d like to know the story behind its rerelease. Honestly, the original came out twenty-five years ago. If this had made it out on Gamecube or even Wii it would have been a sensation, but FPSes have advanced so much since then. Well, nostalgia is a powerful drug. (Yeah, I said it.)

Along those lines. In addition to Octopath Traveler 2, the fandom dairy farm department of Square Enix is rereleasing Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core on Switch. I am apparently the only person in the gaming world without an abiding affection for Final Fantasy VII (the load times put me entirely the hell off the original game when it was new), so I can only watch from the sidelines. S-E also released (yesterday) the oddly-titled Various Daylife. I’m Somewhat Minuteinterested!

Speaking of fandom milking, prepare to low mournfully at the news that Mario Kart 8 is getting still more DLC tracks! And Capcom is releasing cloud versions of various Resident Evil games. Moooooo.

Wii Switch Sports is finally getting its Golf mode, released in a free update, before the end of the year, with 21 holes. I don’t know why they just didn’t wait to release it when it was finished, especially since Golf was the standout mode in Wii Sports, but I guess it’s common practice to delay a major feature or two on release now so a game can get a sales boost by announcing that feature later. There’s a spreadsheet deep in Nintendo’s marketing department that lays out the financial advantages of doing so. They keep it in a folder next to all their demonic contracts.

Shigeru Miyamoto appeared for a moment to hype the animated Mario movie releasing in the Spring, and the Nintendo World amusement park in Japan, and a new one opening soon in Hollywood, California. It’s kind of amazing to think that this is the very same Miyamoto who designed Donkey Kong in the early 80s, at a very different Nintendo. He devoted a lot of time to explaining the smartphone ARG Pikmin Bloom, even though it’s not particularly new. He mentioned that Pikmin 4 is coming out, but very very little about it.

Radiant Silvergun is being remade. Actually, has been remade, and should be out by the time you read this. It’s being released by “Live Wire Inc.” The word Treasure wasn’t mentioned at any time during the game’s brief appearance in the video.

Finishing up. Intrinisically co-op 3D platformer It Takes Two comes to Switch two, er, too. Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. Another Xenoblade Chronicles 3 DLC update. A new Spongebob Squarepants game, sure why not. Factorio is coming to Switch. Ib. (Ib? Yeah, Ib) Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key (what the hell is an atelier anyway and why do so many JRPGs have them?), Just Dance 2023 (sadly not for the Wii), Bayonetta 3, Master Detective Archives: RAIN COODE, Sifu, Endless Dungeon, a remake of Tales of Symphonia, Life is Strange: Arcadia Bay Collection, Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song Remastered, Lego Bricktales, Disney Speedstorm, and Fall Guys: Season 2. Kirby Return to Dreamland Deluxe returns to the classic 2D-style Kirby gameplay.

This Direct’s hype score: 3/10. The only substantive announcements were Fire Emblem Engage and N64 Goldeneye 007! We knew Zelda was coming already, and all the other Nintendo things were either brief teasers or we already knew they were coming.

Wake me when it’s May.

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.

News: 8/8/22: All Hail Raytheon

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

At NintendoLife, Alana Hauges notes a dispute between Corecell, developers of AeternoBlade II, and publisher PQube. It’s all a bit tl;dr, and that isn’t helped by the decision to put PQube’s lengthy response up front, undercutting Corecell’s arguments before we can even read them. In summary, Corecell claims PQube didn’t pay them for milestones, and PQube claims Corecell was unresponsive to their requests for fixes and offered to return rights. I mean, it’s rather they-said/those-others-said, but I note that PQube’s bring up the game’s poor sales, an irrelevant issue at best, is bad form. But we’re all busy blobbies and hey, here’s the next article.

“Here at Raytheon, this guy looks thoughtfully at this small bottle, no doubt full of some radioactive isotope or deadly poison. Notice our ‘Social Impact’ submenu, see we’re not evil!”

Even more depressing news, PC Gamer’s Ted Litchfield tells us that Girls Who Code, a non-profit dedicated to helping women get careers in the tech industry (good) was participating in a mentorship program set up by US arms manufacturer Raytheon Technologies (awful).

In more entertaining news, Vikki Blake at GameRadar mentions that Halo Infinite players have managed to discover a way to force a split-screen multiplayer for that game.

Isaiah Colbert writing for Kotaku informs us that Nintendo’s ending the gacha elements in their mobile game Mario Kart Tour. I’m glad to see this scourge of gaming slowly wane. Instead, players will purchase unlockables directly instead of hoping for lucky draws.

From Konami, resting on their late 80s/early 90s laurels for literally decades now!

Bryan at NintendoEverything has an interview with Chris Kohler of Digital Eclipse and Konami producer Charles Murakami about DE’s collection of 13 classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. Digital Eclipse consistently does such good work these days and it’s a good recounting of the highs of the package and the work involved in bringing it to us.

“This guy is helping us put a tiny portion of our tremendous military profits into these boxes to feed to poor people. We’re actually good!”

News 9/1/22

“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 bit difficult getting consistent signals from Earth lately, and what has gotten through hasn’t been of too much interest to my gelatinous brain. Maybe some of this might pique your interest?

Jonathan Bolding at PC Gamer says that playing dual-screen with a Steam Deck proves the Wii-U was a good idea! I knew it! What they’re talking about is the ability of a Steam Deck to play dual-headed via HDMI out. This play style is explicitly supported in Wii-U emulator Cemu. The article also notes that Valve has stated that the Steam Deck has out-performed sales estimates, which is good! After the Steam Link and Steam Controller were put on sale for ultra-cheap, I was feeling bad about scooping them up as Valve was clearing out stock. Not too bad, though.

SMB3 Scribe’s tile selector

Here’s some news from a different source than usual. At romhacking.net, creator Michael Nix has been working on a pair of GUI rom editors for Super Mario Bros. 3! One, SMB3-Foundry, is for editing levels, and the other, SMB3-Scribe, edits overworlds. A game like SMB3 is a bewilderingly complex beast under the hood, and the strictures of platform, rom space and development time sometimes force unorthodox decisions, like hardcoding some object placements. There is an article to be written some time about the lengths NES carts had to go through to encode their data, which was usually done using a kind of domain-specific data compression.

SMB3 Foundry’s level editor

I have been avoiding linking CBR.com for a bit because of some excessively clickbait headlines, but a recent device change has reset my killfile, so they’re back. Shane Foley from there reports on series nadir Metroid Other M having one level that made it worthwhile. The “level” in question is in fact the entire postgame; up until the main boss, the whole game is heavily on rails, with full exploration only possible afterward.

At Polygon, Nicole Carpenter mentions the content warnings on new indie title I Was A Teenage Exocolonist, which has a number of traumatic events in the game, but is quite upfront about what will occur, going so far as asking the player if they’d like to be spoiled regarding which characters die, or may die. It is a heartening development.

Keith Stuart at the Guardian has a retrospective on gaming on the Commodore 64 at age 40. That old huh. Naw, that doesn’t immediately paralyze me with fear.

(Note: the Guardian is in one of those phases where they nag you with a huge yellow subscription ad. It can be easily closed, and not nearly as bad as some sites out there, but it happens. One article I checked this time-I will not link them-had autoplaying overlaid videos in the corner, which resulted in them being ejected from this post. Bad web designer, no biscuit!)

Baba Is You

Shaun Musgrave at Touch Arcade lists the best recent iPhone game updates. Mentioned are Baba Is You (yay!), Genshin Impact, and Mini Metro (yay again!).

Destructoid’s Chris Carter lists Switch games that make substantive use of the right Joycon’s IR sensor.

Blogfriend Kyle Orland at Ars Technica reports on Fabrice Breton, creator of indie game Brok the Investigator, and their efforts to track down Steam key scammers, curators who would ask devs for free Steam keys but then sell them. As usual from Kyle it’s great and informative reading!

From Alice Newcome-Beill at The Verge, a report on a new version of a Switch Pro controller from 8BitDo, who seem to make good products, although they note they have not yet received the controller for testing.

I’m sure I won’t see this image a thousand times over the next few months drebnar.
(Source: Lorcana’s official Twitter feed)

And for our weekly eyeroll exercises, it’s been reported everywhere but GamesRadar hasn’t been seen in these pages yet so let’s give the link to them: Benjamin Abbott relates that Disney is releasing a Magic: The Gathering style trading card game going by the name of (roll your eyes now!) Lorcana. I’m already brainstorming jokes to make about it as they leak its features over the coming weeks!

News 8/23/22: Falcom, DLC, Playing Cards, Shipping

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

News posts has been light lately. I’ve been worried I’ve been starting to congeal. Even alien blob creatures get older. Well let’s go with what we have–

Kerry Brunskill at PC Gamer breaks the news about Startrader, a shmup made by Falcom for the PC 98. Falcom was mostly known for its classic and unique RPGs, while the PC 98 was mostly known for its erotic anime-styled games that could somehow make full-color pictures (yes, often of naked women) often with only 16 colors and a whole lot of dithering. Startrader went against both the RPG and eroge trends, but still managed to host some amazing artwork.

How did they do that in 16 colors?

At NintendoLife, Kate Gray suggests 3DS and Wii U DLC you should get, if you can, before their eShops shut down. Games discussed include Fantasy Life, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice and Dual Destinies, the many songs of Threatrhythm Final Fantasy and its Curtain Call sequel, and Fire Emblem Fates.

Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett brings us a sad story of a couple of packs of Nintendo playing cards from the 50s, that were bought at auction but, once opened, turned out to have been ruined by age. The arrow of time is one-way, sad to say. Ow, my nucleus!

And it’s not game related, but a friend-of-the-blog suggests, from Benj Edwards at How-To Geek, this guide for shipping fragile electronics.

News 6/9/2022: Multiversus, Pinball, Roguelikes

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

We’ve been distracted here at the news desk lately. A couple of our planet’s moons regularly collide with each other, causing both to reverberate and flex in a disconcerting way that causes them to warm appreciably, and will inevitably cause them both to disintegrate, resulting in major tidal trauma on the planet’s surface that our scientists insist “is nothing to worry about.” It’s still difficult not to be concerned, but I’m sure things like that happen on Earth all the time. Let’s get to the important stuff: video game news.

This building, the Sega Sammy corporate HQ, appears to be made of glass. They’d better not throw any stones! (image from Wikipedia, owned by TarkusAB and used under CC BA-SA 4.0)

Ollie Reynolds at NintendoLife notes that Sega Sammy’s finances are looking up this quarter, due both to the release of Sonic Origins (yay) and pachinko machines (boo). Jeepers Horatio Chrysler, it’s like gambling is slowly swallowing up every aspect of computerized gaming. It’s devoured most of Konami and all of former gaming stalwarts Bally, Williams, and Midway, is responsible for gacha mechanisms in mobile, and is behind several of the most odious aspects of that whole NFT thing. At least Sonic Origins is doing well.

Owen S. Good at Polygon chimes in with this week’s legally-mandated Multiversus news, noting that it’s getting ranked and arcade modes. I mean, on one hand it’s completely obvious that the game is the result of the same kind of soulless corporate mandate that resulted in the execrable Space Jam: A New Legacy, a movie that somehow took a 90s movie based off of a series of sneaker commercials and made the concept worse, but on the other hand it’s got Steven Universe in it. With the parent company in disarray, cancelling nearly complete $90 million dollar movies in order to take a tax writeup, it’s amazing WB, now WB Discovery, can do anything right at the moment.

At Ars Technica, Sam Machkovech reports on 1Up’s new pinball cabinet, which provides emulated (well, simulated) versions of several classic Bally/Williams games in digital form. No video pinball game can hold a candle to real pinball, because of framerate limitations, because of the importance of nudging the machine, and because pinball is cool because it’s a physical ball shooting around the table. Still though, most people can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars for a real table. The unit is one of three pinball products they’re releasing, with this one offering 10 games running Zen Studio’s engine. The headliner is Attack From Mars, but most of the games are really solid, including some underrated classics like Junk Yard and No Good Gofers. Sadly, Machkovech reports that White Water suffers from stuttering and input lag, which speaking as a habitué of Wet Willie’s, is unacceptable for that game. For the record, the other games are Fish Tales, Medieval Madness, Road Show, Hurricane, and Tales of the Arabian Nights. So, no Funhouse. I dunno, for $600 you’d think they’d just include all the games they had the license for?

Not mentioned in the article: NetHack

Cameron Bald at PCGamesN was just asking for our rancorous commentary when he wrote what he claims are the best roguelikes and roguelites on PC. I mean we host @Play now, honor demands that we chime in! The list is Hades, The Binding of Isaac, Darkest Dungeon, Dead Cells, Don’t Starve, Downwell, Into The Breach, Slay the Spire, and Spelunky 2. While, yeah, they’re all good games and I’ve nothing bad to say about any of them, they’re all commercial roguelites. Nothing about NetHack or Angband or anything. Oh well.

Whew, that’s a high commentary-to-link ratio. Let’s continue the list next time. Toodles!

News 8/4/2022: Nier Automata, Sega Channel, OH WOW

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

We’ve been busy here lately, so it’s pretty light this time, just some links left over from last time.

Ash Parrish at The Verge reports on that doorway that was found in Nier Automata: it was a hoax, a mod. The people responsible are quoted as saying, “We have been loving all the discussions and theories — it has been an amazing journey.” Ha ha yes wait you lied to us. Not forgiven. Next!

Kayla Dube at SlashGear writes that the Sega Channel was ahead of its time. Yep, it was.

At Retro Dodo, Brandon Saltalamacchia tells about the OH WOW, a Linux-based gaming handheld from the US, not China, somehow. Power: probably enough to emulate Dreamcast games. Price: Under $200. Date: November 2022.

News 7/31/22: Overwatch Tournament, Vestaria Saga, C64OS

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

Shaun Prescott at PC Gamer notes that Steam going forward is banning the use of award icons and review scores in the main graphical assets within their store. This is the “key art,” which I believe is the stuff that heads a store page. Readability is a given concern, in order not to shrink the game’s logo to make room for a muddle of icons and text, and also to be more considerate of non-English speaking users.

Luke Plunkett at Kotaku: it seems Blizzard changed the rules during an Overwatch tournament, making a set that was intended to be best-of-seven into best-of-five while it was going, causing players to refuse to play in protest. In retrospect it seems like it may have been a result of confusion among the event’s organizers.

Graham Smith at Rock Paper Shotgun: the original creator of Fire Emblem has been making games in its style independently, Vestaria Saga and Vestaria Saga II. They’re designed by Shouzou Kaga working with volunteers over the internet, using a package called SRPG Studio, which is represented in the article as free, but costs $60 on Steam. Similarly, while Vestaria Saga II is free in Japanese, a translated English version is on Steam for $20.

Ollie Reynolds at NintendoLife makes a case that Super Mario Sunshine is the best 3D Mario game. It is quite underrated! For those who haven’t kept up, that’s the Gamecube version, which was also included in the limited release Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Switch and nowhere else.

Screenshot from Hackaday

And it’s not strictly gaming-related, but Bryan Cockfield at Hackaday keeps us appraised of the progress of a modern-ish OS for Commodore 64 computers! It’s called C64OS. People who have followed the 64 since olden times know this isn’t the first, or even the second, time this has happened. This project uses a character-based display to show its buttons and windows. It’s worth noting that it isn’t out yet, and it’s intended to be a paid offering, not something which one can just download and tinker with, which may limit its reach. Still though, it’s an interesting idea, and one that can take advantage of some of the C64’s more advanced peripherals, like mice, ram expansions and WiFi modems.

News 6/28/22: Chack’n Dwarf

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

Here’s all the most important gaming news for protoplasmic organisms! Fortunately our interest sphere intersects well with Earth gaming culture for some reason on which I will not speculate!

The Verge, Jay Peters: Steam now supports Nintendo classic controllers, the ones they released to support their Nintendo Switch Online service and are only sold to members of that service. This includes all of the controllers they released, including SNES and N64, which are probably the most interesting for general use.

IGN, Ryan Dinsdale: a fan is remaking The Simpsons: Hit and Run, and in the process is making hand-drawn versions of the cutscenes. That’s the one that was inspired by the 3D Grand Theft Auto series, not the one that was inspired by Crazy Taxi and is said to have been taken off the market due to a Sega patent on the gameplay (that one was Road Rage). It’s especially worth noting that according to this video, the game will never be made available for download, leading one to wonder… why are so many people posting about it, then? That’s a lot of animation work for one person’s enjoyment, I have to say.

Destructoid, Chris Moyse: Bubble Bobble predecessor Chack’n Pop is coming to the Arcade Archives series. You can get some information on it from Jeremy Parish’s NES Works video on the NES port. BTW, I’d like to just shout out to Jeremy for being one of the most watchable, least strident and obnoxious, YouTube content producers out there. Anyway, Chak’n Pop. It’s a much less interesting game than B[u,o]bble, and only supports one player in any format, but you might find it interesting? But, is it $8 worth of interesting? (Eight whole dollars? Really?)

Image from Polygon article, ultimately from Bay 12 Games

At Polygon, Charlie Hall expresses appreciation for the greatness of Dwarf Fortress‘ upcoming pixel art in its eagerly-anticipated Steam version, by artist Neoriceisgood. It seems like nearly everyone involved with gaming has a non-zero quantity of evil in their soul in some place, but Tarn and Zack Adams are as pure as you can find. I hope this works out for them. It’s so difficult to make it as an indie developer, especially one with such a niche following like DF. We wish them all the best.

And Liam Doolan at NintendoLife notes that video board game developer Asmodee Digital is, due to the closure of an important networking back end service (because of Amazon), ending online multiplayer for its Catan implementation. They’re also taking Pandemic off of the Switch eShop on July 31 (just three days from now!), although they seem to be hinting that it’ll be back in an improved and retooled version eventually. People who have already bought it will still be able to download it, but it won’t be sold to new users.

News 7/26/22: Tactics Risk of Space Jam

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

Kenneth Seward Jr. at Kotaku tells us about things he wished he knew before starting Multiversus, the Space Jam: A New Legacy of fighting games. Besides that Steven and Garnet are best characters? Not due to gameplay properties, just because.

In further X is the Y of Z news, at Polygon, Mike Mahardy makes the claim that Risk of Rain 2 is the Super Mario 64 of (their word) roguelikes. Blogmate rodneylives once did a Q&A with the Risk of Rain folks back at Game Developer, when it was Gamasutra. It’s cool!

Risk of Rain 2, image from developer’s site

Kite Stenbuck of SiliconEra confirms Nintendo’s confirmation that the 3DS and Wii-U eShops will be closing in March 2023. This is further after they stop accepting cash for points at the end of August. Yay for forced obsolescence! Wait, no, not yay! Boo, in fact!

Next, at Eurogamer, Victoria Kennedy tells us that Stray‘s robot language has been deciphered. I mean, this is a surprise? It’s just a substitution cipher. People do those for fun! It’s not exactly the Codex Seraphinianus, is it? No word on whether cat language has been decoded yet, in its infinite complexity. (MEOW = “Gimmie food!”)

IGN: Logan Plant posts about a split-screen mod for Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In fairness, they’re stretching the definition of mod a lot with this one: “of course” it’s not playable on console. It does link to an old 2017 post of fun Breath of the Wild mods that include a playable Waluigi.

Image blatantly scraped from The Verge

And Wes Fenlon at PC Gamer tells us about changes made to the upcoming remake of Tactics Ogre, many of which undo changes made to the previous remake of Tactics Ogre. I wish someone would remake my old Tactics Ogre Disk 2 on PS1, which snapped clean in half when I sat on it. I cried for fifteen minutes.

News 7/18/22: Fall Pac-Dwarf Unity

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

Jordan Middler at VGC noted of instances last week where Fall Guys players who had intended only to preview items were instead made to purchase them, and no refunds were offered. Since it became a big affair on social media developer Mediatonic reversed course and promised to refund the purchases, and that their customer support was lacking in this case. But it kind of makes you wonder about the errors that don’t make it big on social media, doesn’t it?

Unity has been in the news a lot lately! They merged with ironSource, a company that once made a malware installer (Jody MacGregor at PCGamer), and their CEO John Ricitiello criticized mobile game devs who had the temerity to not focus on monetization when they made games, calling them (focuses on page) “fucking idiots.” (Ian Walker, Kotaku) That second article, it’s beautiful and infuriating. Since then, Ricitiello has apologized for his statement on Twitter, and that tweet has itself made the rounds by now. As part of the fallout some developers are seeking out other packages, including site-favorite open-source gamedev system Godot.

PCGamesN (I’m too cranky right now to put the superscript on the N) writer Ian Boudreau presents news of the upcoming graphical Steam version of indie darling Dwarf Fortress, and how its trees change colors with the seasons! I seem to remember them doing this in ASCII mode too, but it’s nice to see it with non-terminal eyes. A lot more pictures are on this post on their Steam News page.

Lookin’ good, Blinky

Some fun links are good once in a while, am I right drebnar? Hackaday’s Orlando Hoilett links us to monseley’s Instructables page about an LCD matrix they cobbled together that shows animations of Pac-Man characters, and how you can make one yourself. It’s even set to make the ghost blue when it’s cold and red when it’s warm! Us one-celled organisms have always felt a certain kinship with ol’ Pacs, I tell you.