Category: Articles

Blitzkrieg In My Bed

On Halloween night in Bully, the clock (which usually limits your boyish hi-jinx to 2:00 AM in-game at which point you will pass out where you stand) is disabled, giving you free-roam of the school until you start “Halloween” the mission. If you try to go to bed, as you can any other day after 7:00 PM, you will find that Gary has already taken up residence in it.

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Ring Around the Rebrand

So after I wrote that last post, I got a curious and decided I wanted to compare the Mystique versions of their games to the PlayAround ones. But strangely, even when you download it with Gigolo as per the PlayAround cart pair and no matter where you download it from, Bachelor Party always has Mystique branding. I wanted to know if this was an oversight in production or if everyone just redistributes the one copy of the ROM so I went a-lookin’.

I never found the answer to that particular question, but I did find another interesting theory.
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For Her Pleasure: An Egalitarian Approach to Pornographic Videogames

An acquaintance of mine recently put together a list of games hacked to have playable female characters in response to this article about the erasure of female game developers hacking games to have female heroes in reporting of stories about fathers doing so for their daughters. Obviously playable female characters are a rarity even today, but in thinking about this, I was reminded of a certain company who went out of their way to give women their turn at the controller.

What’s funny about this, though, is this company made nothing but pornographic Atari 2600 games.
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Robotic Boogaloo: The Community Divided

So Robotic Boogaloo. The first community-created update. Turned out to be pretty controversial, didn’t it? Half of the “community” are extremely disappointed in the finished product and the other half are giving themselves a hernia trying to defend it. But let’s be real here.

The update was a failure on a lot of fucking levels and just because a lot of people we know and like and admire worked on it doesn’t make that any less true. And protip, guys? Acting like people who are pointing out that updates normally involve a lot more than reskinned hats are being ungrateful to the work that went into this one not will not convince anyone that Robotic Boogaloo is a glowing success either. Because the failings in this update are largely not reflective of the work and effort put in by the contributors. The problems lie in that it ultimately did not produce an acceptable update.
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The Clear Line: The Player and Their Acts

When I was a kid, my parents would complain that I talked about games “as if they were real”. At the time, I didn’t understand why they’d think that. Obviously Super Mario World was not real and I had never, to my knowledge, implied that it was. I think what it is though is that, in talking about one’s experience in a game, you refer to the things you do.

There’s always been this talk about immersion and how gamers can’t tell reality from imagination. That we get submerged in games and, somehow, cannot decipher where the narrative of the game ends and where our own interaction begins. That in playing Super Mario, I am him and he is me.
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The Department of Welfare in The Warriors

In The Warriors (the movie) there is a scene where Swan and Fox try to tactfully negotiate safe passage for their gang through the turf of a tiny, no-rep outfit called the Orphans. And in this scene there is a line Fox says about their youth worker talking about the Orphans all the time, trying to make-a nice and act like they do, in fact, know just how heavy the Orphans are (they aren’t). In the game, this line is revised to say that all the other gangs talk about the Orphans all the time. (The part with the newspaper clipping is also cut, as the movie’s scene relies on that the Warriors have never met the Orphans in person, whereas in the game, they know each other all too well.) The movie’s scene goes on to have Sully, the warlord of the Orphans, state that they do not have a youth worker (implying how small fry they are) and Fox covers for his slip-up by saying that they must not have one because the youth board is afraid to send them one.

It’s a strange exchange, one I’ve always felt was out of place. There’s no reference to youth workers in the entire rest of the movie, nor do any ever figure into the plot.

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child: Digging Up Jessica McClure

So today at work I spent the day watching Everybody’s Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure. It was a made-for-TV movie ABC did, but I remember seeing it when I was way little on Lifetime. My mom was watching it, probably because she remembered the media circus of when Jessica fell down the well in ’86, being that we are also from Texas, even though the story eventually became worldwide news.

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Hotline Vice City

I started in on Hotline Miami yesterday. And now that I have, I feel I can state this without any presumption.

On the game’s webpage, there’s more than one testimonial blurb about how this is the game Rockstar always “thinks” they are making in Grand Theft Auto. I am sure they only mean that in the most joking of ways, but I think it bears talking about. If you are familiar with both GTA (specifically Vice City) and Hotline Miami, it is impossible not to think of one at the sight of the other.

But Hotline Miami and Vice City are very different games. They do different things.
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Better Than Dirt: James and the Giant Peach’s Earthworm

I watched James and the Giant Peach again recently. I never actually got to see it when it came out. I vaguely remember that my mother, for some reason, did not like it. I think maybe she just found Tim Burton's stop-motion shit weird in general because I remember having wanted to see The Nightmare Before Christmas too and we never did. So instead, I had a phase a few years after high school where I "caught up" on some of the Disney movies I missed out on and this was one of my favorites.

What I have been thinking about mostly since having rewatched it is how they translated the insects into their more "human" forms and then animated them to reflect both sides of that. Some of them, Grasshopper and Centipede, were made more humanoid with insect characteristics like their multiple arms and antennas. Others strike sort of a middle ground where they have rather unavoidable insect characteristics that need to be accounted for. Ladybug's large round body and Glowworms's bioluminescent tail specifically. Then there's Earthworm and Spider, who could only really just be made as larger versions of their actual species.

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