Posts tagged ‘Video Game’

February 21, 2012

Dwarf Fortress

happy dwarf

‘Slaves to Armok: God of Blood, Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress,’ most commonly known simply as Dwarf Fortress, is a freeware video game by Bay 12 Games for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X set in a high fantasy universe that combines aspects of roguelike (a sub-genre of role-playing video games, characterized by randomization for replayability, permanent death, and turn-based movement) and city-building games.

It is primarily known for its unique level of complexity and difficulty. The title of the game is inspired by its primary focus on the construction, management, and exploration of dwarven fortresses within the game world. Development started in 2002; the game’s first public release was in 2006.

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November 18, 2011



Polybius is a supposed arcade game featured in an Internet urban legend. According to the story, the Tempest-style game was released to the public in 1981, and drove its players insane, causing them to suffer from intense stress, horrific nightmares, and even suicidal tendencies. A short time after its release, it supposedly disappeared without a trace. Not much evidence for the existence of such a game has ever been discovered. Polybius gets its name from the Greek historian who’s works are are relevant to modern cryptography.

According to the story, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs of Portland, Oregon in 1981, something of a rarity at the time. The game, ‘Polybius,’ proved to be incredibly popular, to the point of addiction, and lines formed around the machines, often resulting in fighting over who played next. This was followed by clusters of visits from men in black. Rather than the usual marketing data collected by company visitors to arcade machines, they collected some unknown data, allegedly testing responses to the psychoactive machines. The players themselves suffered from a series of unpleasant side-effects, including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and even suicide in some versions of the legend.

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October 23, 2011

Quiz Machine

Skill with prize

Quiz machine is a term used in the UK for commercial coin-operated video quiz games that offer cash prizes for winning performances. These machines are usually found sited in pubs, bars and other places of entertainment. The term quiz machine is often used interchangeably with the trade term SWP (‘Skill With Prizes’) although not all SWP games are quiz based. The quiz machine first appeared on the scene in the UK in 1985.

The first such machine was called Quizmaster which was made by the Cardiff based now defunct Coinmaster Ltd. This was rapidly followed by quiz machines from other manufacturers. Over the following years quiz machines/SWP’s became a regular feature of the British pub. Leading SWP manufacturers of the 1980s and 1990s were: Coinmaster, JPM, Barcrest, Bell-Fruit, Maygay and Ace-Coin. The themes of many SWP games were (and still are) based on popular TV quiz shows, board games or other aspects of popular culture.

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September 7, 2011

ToeJam & Earl

toejam and earl

ToeJam & Earl is an action video game for the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive elsewhere). Released in 1991, it centers on the titular ToeJam and Earl—alien rappers who have crash-landed on Earth. As they attempt to escape the planet, players assume the role of either character and collect pieces of their wrecked spacecraft. ToeJam & Earl’s design was heavily influenced by the computer role-playing game Rogue, and took from it such features as the random generation of levels and items. It references and parodies 1990s urban culture and is set to a funk soundtrack. The game was positively received by critics, who praised its originality, soundtrack, humor and two-player cooperative mode. It attained sleeper hit status despite low initial sales, and its protagonists were used as mascots by Sega. Several sequels were produced for other consoles, but their commercial and critical success was mixed.

The game has been called a surreal, comic satire, and a ‘daringly misanthropic commentary on Earthly life.’ ToeJam, a red, three-legged alien, wears a large gold medallion and a backwards baseball cap, while the rotund and orange Earl is marked by high-tops and oversized sunglasses; both outfits are ‘over-the-top appropriations’ of 1990s urban culture. Their speech features California slang. The game is set to a jazz-funk and hiphop soundtrack inspired by Herbie Hancock.

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July 12, 2011



Façade is a 2005 artificial-intelligence-based interactive story created by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, and exhibited at several international art shows. Façade puts the player in the role of a close friend of Grace and Trip, a couple who invited you over for cocktails.

This pleasant gathering, however, is somewhat damaged by the clear domestic confrontation between your hosts. Making full use of the incorporated language processing software, the game allows the player to type sentences to ‘speak’ with the couple, either supporting them through their troubles, driving them farther apart, or being thrown out of the apartment.

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July 11, 2011



The Tamagotchi [tom-uh-gotchee] is a handheld digital pet, created in Japan by Akihiro Yokoi of WiZ and Aki Maita of Bandai. It was first sold by Bandai in 1996 in Japan. As of 2010, over 76 million Tamagotchis have been sold world-wide. Most Tamagotchis are housed in a small egg-shaped computer with an interface usually consisting of three buttons, although the number of buttons may vary for different variations. According to Bandai, the name is a portmanteau combining the Japanese word ‘tamago,’ which means ‘egg,’ and the English word ‘watch.’

Upon removing the tag of a Tamagotchi unit, an egg will appear on the screen. After setting the Tamagotchi unit’s clock, the Tamagotchi will hatch, after which the player will be told of its gender and will be given the opportunity to give it a name. From then on, the player is given the task of raising the Tamagotchi to good health throughout its life and attending to its needs, such as feeding it, playing games to make it happy, and keep it at a healthy weight, cleaning up its excrement, punishing or praising the Tamagotchi based on its actions, returning it to proper health with medicine if it gets sick, and shutting off the lights when it goes to bed.

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June 6, 2011



Audiosurf is a 2008 puzzle/rhythm hybrid game created by Invisible Handlebar, a personal company created by Dylan Fitterer. Its track-like stages visually mimic the music the player chooses, while the player races across several lanes collecting colored blocks that appear in sync with the music. The music used in the game is chosen from the user’s own library, from almost any DRM-free format, as well as stamdard CDs. Upon completing the track, the score is uploaded to the score server together with the track length and form, any feats achieved, and the character used including the ironmode option if this was enabled. Scores are stored per song title, allowing people to compete. The uploaded length and track form make it possible to detect mislabelled or variant versions of songs in the score browser.

Audiosurf synchronizes the environment, traffic patterns and scenery with the events in the current song. Each music file imported to the game by the user is first analyzed by the game engine, and an ASH file (containing the dynamics of the sounds and how the track and blocks are arranged) associated to the music is created and saved (typically around 30 kilobytes). This helps speed up the loading time of future replays of the same sound file. The game loads the environment from the ASH files, with the track’s elevation, surface and layout reflected in the dynamics of the music being played. For example, if a player were to choose to play a very soft and mellow song, the track would be uphill, very slow, relaxing and rich in cool colors. If a player were to choose a very intense and loud song, the track would be downhill, sped up, thick with traffic and lit up with hot colors.

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May 8, 2011

Super Meat Boy

meat boy

dr fetus

Super Meat Boy is a platform game developed by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, and is the successor to ‘Meat Boy,’ originally released in 2008. Super Meat Boy was released in 2010. The game follows Meat Boy as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend Bandage Girl from the villainous Dr. Fetus through over 300 levels filled with deadly hazards. It has won acclaim for its extremely high difficulty.

Players must guide Meat Boy to the end of each level while avoiding buzzsaws, salt, and various other fatal obstacles. The player can jump and run, and can stick to walls in order to either jump off of them or to slide down them. The player has an unlimited number of attempts to complete each level; if Meat Boy is killed he immediately restarts the level, though the red blood left behind on surfaces that the player has touched remains.

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April 27, 2011



Proun is a freeware racing game in a world of geometric objects and large colored surfaces. You avoid obstacles by rotating around a cable in order to gain as much speed as possible. There is no up or down; there is only the cable to which you are attached. The game was developed by Amsterdam-based, Joost van Dongen.

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April 2, 2011



I Wanna Be The Guy: The Movie: The Game (IWBTG) is a 2D platform indie freeware video game. First released in October 2007 by Kayin (Michael O’Reilly).

It is best known for its unusually difficult platforming elements, unorthodox level design and utilizing sound effects, characters and music from many other games.

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March 2, 2011

Marvel vs. Capcom

marvel vs capcom

Marvel vs. Capcom is a series of fighting games created by Capcom in which characters created by Marvel Comics and Capcom’s own characters appear together. While it was the first Vs. series involving Capcom, the Marvel brand exists to distinguish it from Capcom’s other Vs. series with SNK (Capcom vs. SNK), and Tatsunoko Production (Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars).

The Marvel characters depicted in these games were often based on their incarnations in various 1990s animated series (particularly X-Men), and were often voiced by the same voice actors.

February 24, 2011

Stadium Events

stadium events

Stadium Events is the English title of the video game ‘Running Stadium’ by Bandai. The game was released for the NES in Japan in 1986, in the United States in 1987. It was one of two games released in North America that were designed and branded for the Family Fun Fitness mat, a short-lived running pad accessory for the NES. The North American, or NTSC, version of Stadium Events is universally accepted as the rarest and most valuable licensed NES game. A copy sold January 2011 on ebay for $22,806.00, the highest price ever paid for a video game

The two Family Fun Fitness-branded games that had already been released, as well as Bandai’s version of the running pad accessory, were pulled from shelves and presumed destroyed. Because of this odd sequence of events, only 2000 copies are believed to have been produced, of which it is estimated that 200 copies reached consumers before being recalled. Today, collectors who follow the online sale of rare video games believe that fewer than 20 complete copies of the game exist, only two of which are known to be factory sealed.

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