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The evolution of snooker video games

Boing Boing reports:

Starting with a 1984 version of snooker (kind of like pool with more balls and smaller pockets) for the Commodore 64, Nostalgia Nerd shows how videogame versions of the game have evolved over the years. Even though the latest versions are hyperrealistic, I think the simple C64 version is the most appealing, but as Nostalgia Nerd points out, the physics and collision detection are laughable.

Microsoft Solitaire enters video game hall of fame

Microsoft SolitaireIncluded free of charge with Windows since 1990, Microsoft Solitaire has finally achieved immortality in the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Microsoft Solitaire meets all the criteria for the World Video Game Hall of Fame: influence, longevity, geographical reach, and icon-status. And yet it is often overlooked—perhaps because it’s a digital version of a centuries-old game, and because it so common as to seem commonplace.

Other 2019 inductees include Colossal Cave Adventure, Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Kart.

Via Boing Boing.

Mega Man 8-bit Deathmatch

Mega Man 8-Bit DeathmatchMy friend Tom recommends Mega Man 8-bit Deathmatch, a free project created by CutmanMike and Team MM8BDM who consist of hardcore fans of Capcom’s classic Mega Man series. Powered by the Zandronum engine, this retro styled first person shooter is designed around the look and feel of the 8-bit Mega Man games.

Mega Man 8-bit Deathmatch is a free project created by CutmanMike and Team MM8BDM who consist of hardcore fans of Capcom’s classic Mega Man series. Powered by the Zandronum engine, this retro styled first person shooter is designed around the look and feel of the 8-bit Mega Man games. It includes every robot master as a playable skin, over 50 weapons and maps based off the original games, 32 player online play, a singleplayer botmatch campaign and much much more. If you’re a fan of online first person shooters or Mega Man, you simply have no excuse to not download and give Mega Man 8-bit Deathmatch a try today!

About MM8BDM

MM8BDM can be modified:

* Modification @ mm8bdm wiki: “As MM8BDM is created in Zandronum, it shares its extremely flexible modding capabilities. Creating your own levels, gameplay modifications, skins etc.”
* So you want to learn to map, eh? @ Cutstuff Forums

Zandronum is a source port of the Doom engine, which was originally used in the video game Doom:

Zandronum was first released as version 1.0 on August 24, 2012. Zandronum improved support up to 64 players online per server and introduced software rendering for 3D floors, previously an OpenGL-only feature in Skulltag. Zandronum runs on a huge number of PC architectures (including Windows, Linux and OSX) and comes with Doomseeker – A utility to browse for available servers in network, automatically download the required data packs (WADs) and start one’s own server. Zandronum’s most recent version is 3.0, released on September 7, 2017. [Source: Wikipedia]

Artificial intelligence finds surprising solution to Q*bert

Q*bertArtificial intelligence sometimes solves problems using solutions which surprise humans. I find this quality charming — menacing*, but charming.

The Verge reports: “A video game-playing AI beat Q*bert in a way no one’s ever seen before.”

[A] trio of machine learning researchers from the University of Freiburg in Germany … were exploring a particular method of teaching AI agents to navigate video games (in this case, desktop ports of old Atari titles from the 1980s) when they discovered something odd. The software they were testing discovered a bug in the port of the retro video game Q*bert that allowed it to rack up near infinite points.

As the trio describe in [their] paper, published on pre-print server arXiv, the agent was learning how to play Q*bert when it discovered an “interesting solution.” Normally, in Q*bert, players jump from cube to cube, with this action changing the platforms’ colors. Change all the colors (and dispatch some enemies), and you’re rewarded with points and sent to the next level. The AI found a better way, though; the researchers report:

“First, it completes the first level and then starts to jump from platform to platform in what seems to be a random manner. For a reason unknown to us, the game does not advance to the second round but the platforms start to blink and the agent quickly gains a huge amount of points (close to 1 million for our episode time limit).”

The research paper: Back to Basics: Benchmarking Canonical Evolution Strategies for Playing Atari.

* By “menacing”, I mean real-world systems with life-and-death consequences — medical devices, weapons systems, etc. — not Q*bert.

Carrion: you are the alien blob monster

This looks like fun: in Carrion, you play an alien blob monster, hunting and devouring humans in a failing space colony.

Via Boing Boing:

In most examples of sci-fi horror, a desperate human protagonist must evade, hunt and vanquish the unspeakable alien creature. But what if you were a horrific amorphous nightmare blob, crawling around the red-cast darkness of a failing space colony in search of prey to devour?

This is the premise of Sebastian Krośkiewicz’s “Carrion”, and it looks amazing. Part John Carpenter’s Katamari Damacy, part Shoggoth simulator, all gore, the prototype animations depict a claustrophobic industrial scenario with our hero sliming and slorping around its terrified human victims.

It’s early days, by the looks of it …

See Sebastian Krośkiewicz’s Twitter page.

Stone Story RPG uses text-based animation

Stone Story is an RPG with clever text-based ascii animations, combining old-school visual style with current-day gameplay.

From the developer:

Stone Story is an RPG set in a dark and vile world. The game’s fluid ASCII art is painstakingly animated in plain text by a single insane game developer. Currently in closed alpha, the game features 6 locations to explore, 4 boss fights, mind-blowing ASCII cutscenes and plenty of loot to discover. Much more content is planned once the project reaches beta.

The casual play contrasts with the retro visuals, providing a unique experience that blends nostalgia with modern design principles. One of the game’s defining mechanics is that you have no direct control of the player character. You choose what items to equip and which locations to visit, while an artificial intelligence does all the exploring, combat and looting. An expansive item crafting system allows you to combine otherwise disposable items–rewarding experimentation and making full use of all the gathered loot.

StoneStoryRPG.com

Via Boing Boing: New role playing game has clever text-based ascii animation.

Stone Story: whirlwind wand

Hook

I have not played Hook, but it looks interesting:

Hook

Via Rock Paper Shotgun:

The idea is that each level gives you this abstracted circuit board-looking diagram. There are lines and connecting points and overlapping straight and hooked pins. When you press the big black circles they activate the circuit board and retract any of the pins which are connected at the time. The catch is that the pins are layered so trying to activate them out of order will mean tugging ineffectually at pins whose removal is blocked by others.

I’d describe it as zen circuit board kerplunk and across the fifty levels I’ve played I sort of zone out, concentrating on lines and connections. You can try to remove multiple pins with a button press if you’re feeling flash or you can go one by one. The more you solve the clearer the board gets as extraneous circuitry is removed. I’ve only had one situation where I’d made the puzzle impossible by removing something vital to another circuit.

Edutainment failed me

Treasure MathStorm“… it felt like being told you had to eat your vegetables before you could have a single bite of weird, unappealing fruitcake.”

— Aroon Karuna

Many people … look back fondly on legitimately-entertaining educational games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and The Oregon Trail. But the Learning Company games my parents bought me were marketed to and designed for parents and educators, not children. Rather than marrying learning to play, they crudely grafted educational material to rudimentary “game”-like behavior.

For children forced to play such games, it felt like being told you had to eat your vegetables before you could have a single bite of weird, unappealing fruitcake. You’d typically have to suffer through some convoluted fractions or a reading comprehension portion before you could be “rewarded” with a small slice of entertainment. The message ended up being that education was supposed to be a slog, not something you’d want to pursue for its own sake.

[Source: BoingBoing]

Shelter 2

“Things got heavy when I played this animal-mothering game.”

Leigh Alexander

In 2013 there was a game called Shelter, where you played a badger ushering your cubs to safety from predators and forest fires and other peril. I avoided it, because from what I heard the appeal was supposed to be how bad you felt when one of them inevitably died.

In the just-launched Shelter 2, you now play a mother lynx. You, the player, get to name each of four different-colored kittens — that’s after you guide the expectant mother through the dark, away from the wolves snapping at her heels, to a hilltop den at the base of a tree. If you succeed at raising any of them to adulthood, the game promises, you can then carry on their lineage.

… The very worst part was the day they came out of the den on their own and began to follow me. Just then I remembered the sound of the wolves on the day the babies were born, and nothing could make me continue playing.

Created by Might and Delight Studios. Available on Steam, GOG.com, and Humble Store.

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