You maniacs! You blew it all up!

When the GP32 was first announced, I got very excited. Finally, a handheld system that anyone could program for without any special equipment! It was going to be an open-source revolution for console gaming! Brilliant, free games would flow like wine in the streets, and everyone would sing out in glee! When it came out however, I didn’t have the money to get one. When I did have the money, a new, backlit version was announced, so I decided to wait. By the time that one came out, I’d lost interest, particularly because it had been a couple of years and my utopian dream had not been realized. In fact, it had ended up sort of gruesomely dystopian, by which I mean “Dyhard – with Infinite Stairs“.

Earlier this year they announced the GP2X, the amazing next generation version of the GP32, and I got excited again. I held off on buying one, though, since there were ZERO games available at release. And now, alas, I learn that they are horribly, atrociously buggy. Both kinds: country and western hardware and software. Oh well, at least there are still those plucky optimists in the PSP homebrew scene, fighting against “the Man” to bring sweet, sweet wine-in-the-streets free gameness to the masses… or at least lots and lots of Tetris and Pong clones. Sigh.

And no, before you mention it, I don’t have any faith in the XGP.

Season Stacker demo now available!

As threatened in the “about” page, I’m posting about one of my personal projects. Season Stacker is a “dropping puzzle” game for the Gameboy Advance, and my submission to this year’s Independant Games Festival. Check out the free demo, help generate buzz, and keep your fingers crossed that I at least make it to the finals, where I can show the game off to large numbers of potential publishers.

Also, please use the comments of this post for any feedback, suggestions, bug reports, love letters, offers of publication / money / candy, fan art, and erotic fanfic. Actually, maybe you should just keep the erotic fanfic to yourself.

Update: Alas, Season Stacker didn’t make the finals, but I’ve left the demo online for the good of all humanity, and to have something cool to show potential employers.

You know, this might actually work…

I would say I’m sort of a “medium” fan of Dead or Alive; I thought the mechanics of the second one were good, and had a lot of fun playing it against friends, but the whole “freakishly large breasts swaying as though underwater” thing just creeps me out.

That said, if someone were to ask me to make a low-budget feature movie out of the series, here’s what I’d do: I’d get a bunch of B-list porn stars to play the leads, because they’d have enough flexibility and stamina to do fake kung-fu, and wouldn’t be ashamed to play characters best known for their gravity-defying floppy tits. I’d film it in China, where everything is cheap, and crews who have spent their entire lives making kung-fu movies are a dime a dozen. I’d include as much “clever partial nudity” as I could possibly show and still retain the PG-13 rating necessary to draw in the 13-year-olds the games are aimed toward. Then I’d find some German company to finance the whole thing because, as Uwe Boll proves, they’ll throw money at anything with a video game tie-in. I’ve heard it’s actually some sort of tax write-off for them, but never bothered to learn the details.

Surprisingly, it looks like I’m not the only super-genius in the world, because someone else actually WAS tasked with making a Dead or Alive movie, did exactly what I outlined above, and created a trailer to prove it. My prognosis is that this is not going to be a cinematic masterpiece, but will do much better than expected, and may, arguably, turn out to be the best video-game-to-movie conversion yet, at least until Silent Hill comes out. I should note at this point that I’m often wrong.

Thanks to Kotaku for slogging through the slow trailer download and then reposting it somewhere not so slow.

Gunstar Superheroes hurts so good.

ss_gunstar_12I would just like to say that playing Gunstar Superheroes is like getting repeatedly kicked in the ribs by a boot made entirely out of pleasure. It’s really really hard. Harder than the original Gunstar Heroes. I would even go so far as to call it Dynamite Headdy hard, except that it has unlimited continues, which Headdy did not. Just like the XBox Ninja Gaiden however, it is NOT cheap, and all the difficulty is in the form of “skill you do not yet possess”, as opposed to the “screen so full of bullets that there’s nowhere to dodge at all and you have to get hit regardless of skill” that sometimes happened in Gunstar Heroes and often happened in Dynamite Headdy.

I love it.

For anyone who’s played the original, this is sort of a “reincarnation” of it; most of the levels and bosses return “thematically” (yep, the boardgame is back, and this time the dice are less random. Yay!), but they’re all vastly improved, and there are also many many additional levels and bosses. Like all things Treasure, the game also takes full advantage of the platform’s unique features, and there are all kinds of crazy “spinning” levels and scaling goodness. I haven’t played enough of it yet to determine if it’s better than Astro Boy, Treasure’s other masterpiece for the GBA, but it’s already very very close. Go get it NOW!!!

Pyramid Head, could you get the pizza out of the oven?

VideoGaiden is a Scottish video game review / sketch comedy show which runs on BBC 2 Scotland. The show used to be called Consolevania, and existed solely online, but some sublime genius at BBC 2 Scotland decided they needed more exposure. They mention Rez in their first episode, and give Psychonauts a glowing review in the second episode. They’re just that cool. The best part is, the first three episodes are available online for free, and even better are the three episodes of Consolevania available online. The only real downside is that the Scottish accents are difficult to understand for us damn dirty yanks, but that just means you’ll have to watch each episode a few times to catch everything, which is not a bad thing.

After watching all of VideoGaiden and all of Consolevania, my internal voice now has a Scottish accent, and I’m afraid to try to talk to anyone because my outside voice might have a Scottish accent too.

Update: For some reason the website has decided to start blocking anyone with an IP address outside of the UK from watching the VideoGaiden episodes, which is really really stupid. The Consolevania episodes still work, though.

Update Update: All six episodes are available as AVIs here, although it’s unclear how long that link will be good, so go get them now!!

Sony says: groin bad, camel-toe good

Those kooky Japanese, and those kookier Japanese who meticulously document the kookiness of the kooky Japanese. This site provides an in-depth comparison between the instruction booklet artwork in the Saturn and Playstation 2 versions of Langrisser III, focussing specifically on the removal of all “groin lines” from the drawings of women for the PS2 version. Does anyone even read the instruction booklets to games anymore? Meanwhile, this site (not terribly work safe) “carefully documents” the gratuitous camel-toe in O-Ane-Champloo (“Older Sister Remix”), also for the Playstation 2.

Scandal!

I thought she fought Nazis… maybe these are medieval Nazis?

One can only assume that the video game Bloodrayne was born from a night of heavy drinking:

Guy 1: Tomb Raider is really popular! Let’s make a game with a hot chick in it!
Guy 2: Yeah, but let’s make her hotter… like a red head!
Guy 3: Yeah! And a hooker… um…
Guy 2: A hooker assassin!
Guy 3: A vampire hooker assassin!
Guy 1: (barely able to speak over the giggling) Who’s bisexual!
All 3 Guys: And she fights Nazis!!

In the morning, as the coroner packed their alcohol-poisoned bodies into his van, a nameless vagrant found the bar napkin on which they’d scrawled their horrible idea, and sold it to Majesco for 8 hojillion dollars. Since then, Bloodrayne has appeared on every system imaginable (well, not the ZX Spectrum), and has even bared her misshapen, ham-like breasts for Playboy. Now, years later, Uwe Boll is turning it into a movie, chock full o’ actors at the ends of their careers like Udo Kier, Ben Kingsley, Billy Zane, and Meatloaf, and the trailer is now available, for all to revel in its horribleness.

I keep hearing people complain about how Uwe Boll is “ruining video games” with his horrible movies. Let’s have a show of hands of everyone who thought that Bloodrayne was a masterpiece, and will be “ruined” by Uwe Boll’s movie. Anyone? OK, how about Alone in the Dark? Dungeon Siege? House of the Dead? Sure, people liked House of the Dead (or “Hizzy of the Dizzy“, as it’s known in the hood), but no-one would call it a masterpiece. I’ll get upset if Uwe Boll makes a horrible movie out of Ico, or Klonoa, or Rez, but I really don’t see that happening ever. Meanwhile just sit back, quit whining, and either enjoy or ignore his painfully awful movies of painfully awful video games. Supposedly, the director’s commentary tracks on both House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark are absolutely hilarious.

Update: According to Ain’t it Cool News, the movie was cast only 2 weeks before filming started, Michael Madsen spent the entire production drunk, and most of the extras were Romanian whores. I can’t wait to hear the commentary track on this one!