Archives for January 2010

Team Quad Rock

I don’t post local-to-me (Columbus, Ohio) stories like this very often, but I had no idea I was living this close to greatness.

By day, the four 20-something friends work with or around computers.

By night, they play on them — so much so that they’ve amassed a combined 72 video-game world records.

Ladies and technophiles, meet Team Quad Rock.

This makes me want to get down and dirty with a game of New Super Mario Bros. Wii:

“We go level by level and analyze it,” explained Lowe, who holds records in mostly vintage games — both popular (BurgerTime) and obscure (Splendor Blast).

“Russell figured out that on the third level of the game, when the clock reads 396 seconds, you can use Mario’s propeller cap and get an extra 16,600 points every 25 seconds. I have a spreadsheet breaking down every level like that.”

A single game of New Super Mario Bros. Wii takes about two hours and five minutes to play, Lowe said.

Maybe I’ll just go watch The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.

FUNd Raising (yeah, I got nothing)

FotB (Friend of the Blog) Corvus is working on a game called Addicube and is looking for help funding his project.

What is Addicube?

Addicube is a virtual-pet sim that challenges you to maintain balanced diets for an ever increasing family of tiny cubes in a petri dish. If their diets become to unbalanced, they begin to act out emotionally and as you progress you’ll unlock tools that help you keep control over their intake.

An emotional petri dish game? Corvus is starting his own genre. A genre we can all get behind.

I hope everyone can give a little to help them out. This is a do as I say and as I do situation, as I’ve put my money where my mouth is. Let’s all pitch in.

One to Watch: Red Dead Redemption

While everyone is out and about playing with their Commander Sheep, I’ve been scouring the internet looking into the future. One of my favorite games of all time is Outlaws (why is this not on Steam?), a spaghetti-western created by LucasArts. Although there have been a few western-themed games released since then, none of them have been able to capture for me the gritty wild west.. Maybe Rockstar’s sequel to Red Dead Revolver (which I just played this year—meh, too restrictive), Red Dead Redemption will change all that. Here is one of the few titles I look forward to this year.

Source: Giantbomb.

In My Hands

This Game You Should Play: Canabalt

You ran 8953m before hitting a wall and tumbling to your death.

Canabalt is what Mirror’s Edge should have been–freestyle running that’s fun. It’s comparing apples and oranges, but there’s one other thing about the two games that must be mentioned. Mirror’s Edge uses a myriad of control schemes utilizing bumpers, triggers, and even a little bit of motion control. Finger-fu that leads to finger-flu. Canabalt uses one key.

Yes, it’s that simple. In the game you control a runner who is escaping from…well, something. Judging by the backgrounds it’s an alien invasion. However, the word control doesn’t describe it properly. Basically you tell him when to jump. The main character automatically runs the map, and his jumps are a few careful button presses that propel him from building to building, through glass windows, and over other obstacles.

Jump to retry your daring escape.

Not all obstacles are bad. Hitting some of them will slow the runner down. This can be a good thing because he progressively runs faster. (His stamina is amazing!). Play the game at a frantic pace or time the jumps by using the environment to control his actions. It’s a brilliant play scheme–one that involves only thought.

However, the difficulty is ramped up because the play area is randomly generated. It’s a new experience every time. Easy to learn, but a lifetime to master.

Surprisingly, the simplistic graphics make the experience enjoyable. It’s gray, white, and shades of gray. The smooth animations of the runner and the birds make it a pleasure to watch. Seeing the runner’s arms flail in the air never gets old. There’s also some nice narrative touches going on in the background.

For maximum awesome, headphones recommended.

The sound may be the best thing the game has to offer. From a great soundtrack to the beats of the runner’s footsteps on different material, it offers an immersion that one might overlook. Even the flapping of the bird wings is detailed.

Canabalt is available for FREE online as a flash game and in the App Store for $3. The iPod Touch version doesn’t have any buttons. Just tap.

Developer Semi Secret Software created this gem in five days for the Experimental Gameplay Project. This is an experiment that succeeded.

The game measures your progress by the distance ran. Give us your free-running record in the comments and become a legend.