It’s appropriate to roll a movie preview first. Grim Fandango is deeply influenced by classic films. From a structure in multiple acts, to the characters, to the title cards, the story and settings have references and influences coming out of the woodwork. But that’s the only reverence found in the Land of the Dead. The plot unfolds like a free-wheeling conversation that leaps from the Aztec afterlife to Art Deco to film noir to hotrodding to carrier pigeons to beatnik poetry and riffs on all of them with wry criticism, jokes, and fine threads.
Continue reading Slow Dance – Grim Fandango Retrospective
Aside from the radio, I don’t even know where to start.
The greatest spectacles in sports and competition have the most talented people doing the most extraordinary things. Part of the delight is relating back to games we played as children. We know the goals, but professional players show us what we didn’t know was possible. 
Continue reading Like A Duck Taking To Baseball
Did you ever play a racing game and wonder just what the world of the tracks might look like? One fine denizen of the interwebs wondered just that, way back in the early days of home gaming consoles. But better than just wondering, he was motivated to follow through, all these years later.
When I was very young, back in the late seventies and early eighties, my friends and I loved playing games for the Atari 2600, the Intellivision, and the ColecoVision. My family owned the Intelivision and one of our favorite games for that system was Auto Racing.
At some point, my friends and I discovered that if one drove carefully off-road, it was possible to reach one of the other tracks from the one you were currently driving on. And then we realized that the tracks listed in the manual existed inside one giant map and all were interconnected. To my ten year old mind, this was fascinating… it was like discovering a treasure map. We tried to draw out the map as we explored but with limited success.
As years passed I would from time to time think of our virtual explorations, still curious as to what that hidden, giant map really looked like.
Continue reading Unified Theory of Racing Maps
With the recent craziness of the political world, one of the phrases that gets thrown about is a ‘return to the Cold War’. Who can really say for sure? But with the internet and world connectivity and cell phones (and Russian dash cams, they seriously love those things), it seems pretty clear that a Next Generation Cold War–Russian Refreeze!–will be lacking in the same Iron Curtain information blackout that the previous version held. That Iron Curtain kept the prying eyes of the West out from not only the military workings of the USSR, but also kept the everyday life and times of the ordinary citizens hidden as well. One such area that remained largely unknown was that of video games! The Soviets weren’t really keen to import Atari’s and Nintendo’s, so they made their own. Although, those game systems were more products of the Far East than of decadent Western culture, but hey, I don’t make the rules. Let’s take a look at a few arcade posters from Soviet Russia!
Continue reading Would You Like to Play a Game?
In the early-ish days of the world wide web, one fellow developed a sort of online card game. This particular game had quite the specific audience:
One of the Citroën-internet pioneers, Marcel Reimer, started an internetgame in 1997 by sending some of these cards by e-mail to a number of internet […]
Do you find yourself with a little too much spare time this holiday season, and a hankering for some video games of your youth? Well, you are in luck, thanks to The Internet Archive. The fine folks over there have created an extensive database of early video games from such consoles as the […]
Drive to any point you can see.
It’s been sitting on my shelf since it came out. Along with a backup of the DLC. Seven years later, I have a graphics card that can run it. Perversely, I couldn’t test drive the first car I bought in Test Drive Unlimited, but after that I can drive down any road I can find, and I can jump in any car at any dealership and see how much ground I can cover in two minutes.
Thousands of miles and tens of hours into the game, there are still long stretches of road I’ve simply never driven, never gotten to. The scale is a huge leap over my last point of reference, Midtown Madness 2, where I paced off the environments at roughly two miles in each direction.
Continue reading A Glimpse Of Life Inside The Matrix
There are times when I look back and think that maybe the 1990s were the pinnacle of video game design. Maybe it’s just because that’s when I was heavily into gaming, but it seems to me that today’s games are more derivative of the games that came out in the 1990s than anything new or creative. The first person shooter really came into its own in the 1990s. Real-time strategy games finally began living up to their hype. MMOs made me miss more than one class in college. Rise of the Robots isn’t any of those. It’s better…and worse.
Continue reading Rise of the Robots
The idea of the easter egg is software goes back ages. Another computer tech that goes back ages is Atari’s Breakout! game. Combine the two, mix in some Google Image Search, and you get a playable bit of awesome. Give it a try! Just type in “Atari Breakout” into a GIS search box […]
Pinball! Truly, it has to be a lost gaming art. My primary experience with pinball was the old XP 3-D Pinball, which I was about as good at as real pinball, which is to say not very. At least it did not cost any quarters, and was a means to wile away the slow moments at work. Since pinball is still celebrated in some parts, lets watch¹ a little salute to some sweet machines from not so long ago!
Continue reading Play a Mean Pin Ball