News 9/22/2022: Lunar Lander, Service Shutdowns, Dirty Dwarves

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

It’s not been a great day on our distant planet. The glorps on the neighboring island are playing their brachiis again. It makes my audio-sensing apparatus quiver painfully. You humans are lucky to just have ears, drebnar. Anyway, down to bidness.

Wayne Williams, BetaNews: A game that lets you play Lunar Lander in the Windows File Copy dialog box.

Alana Hauges, Nintendo Life: The 3DS and Wii U are losing their ability to connect to Facebook and Twitter, or to share screenshots. Entropy ruins/services loved meet their end/goodbye useful features. A haiku!

Andrew Liszewski, Gizmodo: The Analogue Pocket gains the ability to play Super Nintendo games. But how long will it be before it, too, goes obsolete? Aw, don’t mind me, I’m just feeling my ages. It cannot accommodate SNES carts, so it runs rom image files, and uses an unofficial core, although it doesn’t need any jailbreaking to do so.

Mobygames is a godsend for screenshots like this.

jeremy1456, Infinity Retro: a list of hidden gems for the Sega Saturn. On it: Darius Gaiden, Dark Wizard, Dark Savior, Enemy Zero, Galactic Attack, Golden Axe: The Duel, Highway 2000, Last Bronx, Legend of Oasis, Sky Target, Scorcher, SCUD: The Disposable Assassin, Shinobi Legions, Steep Slope Sliders, and Three Dirty Dwarves. I’ve always been tickled by the title of Last Bronx. I suppose it must be a sequel to a game called Penultimate Bronx. I think the writer overstates the Saturn’s 3D prowess, it came at that awkward time where 3D was just getting underway, but the Saturn was a sprite-pushing powerhouse, hence all the 2D games for it.

Rockstar Games is disappointed

John Walker, Kotaku: Rockstar responds to the GTA6 leak. The leak is only of video footage, not of the game itself, but Take-Two is already attempting to use the DMCA (which you’ve certainly heard me rant about before) to scrub it from the internet. Grand Theft Auto 6 is not Retro, Indie, nor Niche, so we are not inclined to say much about it, except to say that intellectual property laws are a labyrinth of awfulness, and I will not stop railing against them so long as there remains goo in these cell walls of mine.

Bill Toulas, Bleeping Computer: Hackers compromise Steam accounts using a “browser-in-browser” phishing attack. They trick people using fake login forms to get them to reveal their account information. Particularly targeted are the accounts of professional gamers, who are tricked into signing up for a fake tournament. The accounts are then ransomed for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ah, this age we live in.

Finally, Vikki Blake at Eurogamer: Sega is abandoning the Yakuza brand and replacing it with Like A Dragon, in order to accommodate the gameplay in games like the feudal spinoff Like A Dragin: Ishin.

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 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.