Things X 5 – October 14, 2013
Sorry for missing out last week, but some serious responsibilities caught up with me! While I imagine all of you are busy catching pocket monsters already, let’s take time for a look at four cool things and one definitely not cool thing that happened recently.
Let’s start with the bad news first: Lilt line too did not make its Kickstarter campaign, finishing with a little less than £5,000 (roughly $8,000) missing from its £15,000 goal. I was really looking forward to this sequel to lilt line but its creator, Gordon Midwood said in a message to its backers that he won’t be working on the game anymore but followed by saying “never fret, though, i have plenty of fresh ideas and will be back with one of them in due course.”
It’s a shame the sequel didn’t make it but I do want to personally wish Midwood all the best of luck in his future endeavors. Whatever his new projects are, I hope that I’ll be able to help him bring them to the public. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already done so, I urge you to check the original lilt line on iOS or WiiWare; I have a soft spot for the later version and its tight Wiimote controls. Midwood also collaborated with Ronzo as Different Tuna for Derrick the Deathfin, a game made out entirely of paper that was released a year ago on PSN and earlier this year on PC/Mac. You can check 4CR’s own Antonio Garcia reviewing it for PS3blog here.
In better news, two great projects were recently funded. First is Hyper Light Drifter by Heart Machine that collected nearly $650,000 based on a modest funding goal of $27,000. The game looks fun, absolutely gorgeous and will be coming out to PS4, Vita, Mac/Windows/Linux, Ouya and Wii U (yeah!) in Summer of 2014.
Another successful Kickstarter campaign is The Fall by Canadian developer Over The Moon that doubled its $17,000 goal. The Fall will be an episodic game (3 episodes are planned) telling a dark, sci-fi story while mixing traditional point-and-click adventure gameplay with side-scrolling platformer elements – it’s really promising and looks to be heavily influenced by Super Metroid. Even better, the trilogy has been confirmed for Wii U along with versions for Mac/Windows/Linux platforms. The first episode should be available in March of 2014.
Nintendo Life recently reviewed a delightfully niche N64 game that was only released in Japan, Densha de Go! 64 (that literally translates to “Go by Train! 64″ in English). While the game looks like your common hyper-realistic train simulation that make up a weirdly popular segment of video games in Japan, its optional controller (which was also made for the PSOne, PS2 and Saturn) that is absolutely stunning. Not only does it mimic real train controls but the accessory has its own contoured area for you to store a pocket watch for the most accurate timing. Just look at this thing:
Speaking of unique controllers, back when we were kids, my brother and I broke one of our NES controllers because we were using a trick in Mega Man 3 where you could press a certain button on the second controller (can’t remember which one, I think it was down) and the blue bomber wouldn’t fall in bottomless pits. But, we were a bit lazy and usually stuck the controller under a table or chair. Predictably, one of our NES pads died this way. To be honest, I must also say that we weren’t really gentle with our controllers (especially me), so that probably didn’t help either. When it was time to buy a new controller, our parents told us to use our own money since we broke the plastic thing ourselves but because we didn’t have a lot of money we ended up with a cheap alternative: the Quick Shot Professional.
That thing was absolutely awful. You couldn’t play games with it because it was annoyingly counter-intuitive plus, if I’m remember right, the big front red button was mapped to the B button and not A, making it even more difficult to play most games. The only title the benefited from the Quick Shot Professional was Xevious because of the autofire option, but because thing felt like holding a grip from a motorbike your hands quickly got tired. That was the first and last time we bought a third party controller.
I’m amazed at the problematic nature of Metroid Prime world map design as it is shown in this in-depth feature on Gamasutra by veteran, ex-Retro Studios developer, Paul Tozour.
The image above is a typical Metroid world map displaying how rooms are interconnected together in a complex way (don’t forget to take into account the variables of item upgrades and backtracking). In the article, Tozour details the process of understanding complex problems like this as well as providing tools to solve these kinds of problems. It’s a very technical but entirely fascinating look at a beloved video game title.
Don’t forget, you can drop me hints on my Twitter account. Also, you are welcome to send me a friend request on my Wii U, my Nintendo Network ID is Jorf-Jorf. My 3DS Friend Code is 5069-3920-3758. If you want to snoop at what I’m playing on PS3 my PSN ID is l_am_error. Have a great week!