Edgar Vigdal

We’re sad to hear of the passing of Edgar Vigdal, developer of Warblade/Deluxe Galaga.

“Edgar Vigdal passed away two nights ago, we suspect of cancer. I’m not sure i need to provide more details even if i get them… One of Edgars close friends has given us this information earlier this evening and right now Kev and I are quite shocked and very saddened by the news.

Edgar and I would talk night after night for hours at a time, often into the early hours of the morning. We became close friends over the many years doing this, skyping till our ipad batteries were flat, sharing jokes and trading our latest music finds… And recently we had agreed that finally i was going to visit Norway so we could actually meet for the first time this May and i’d stay with him and his family… I’m going to miss those chats.

This is a rather sudden shock for all of us and i’m really not sure what else to say.

My thoughts and deepest sympathies go to Siv, Marta, Rebekka and Markus and all the rest of the family. RIP Edgar my friend.

-Simon Quincey”

Edgar was a great friend to ex-RR Admin Simon (who regulars will know as Hitm4n) and Simon worked with him for a number of years on a number of project over the years. Edgar was also a strong and reliable supporter of a number of our old competitions, a support we were and are incredibly grateful for. His work and independent spirit from the Amiga to the present day inspired and uplifted many and indeed, his games were and are still loved to this day. It’s rare in videogames for someone to not only be able to stick around so long making the things he wants to make but being loved for it also. Edgar leaves behind quite the legacy.

Our sympathies go out to his family and friends at this difficult time. RIP Edgar, your presence will be missed.

It’s Not Tempest

Hopefully by now everyone will have heard the news that Jeff received a cease and desist from Atari over TxK.

It’s depressing news and not entirely unusual news from the husk of a corporation that is Atari. They have form for this, after all.

For my own part, part of the reason I stopped posting on RR last year was due to the short time between me posting a game based around Asteroids and Atari serving that game being, well, look. I don’t want that sort of thing hovering over me every time I post the news, yeah? Given the stuff that the shell-of-Atari holds custody of are the kind of things that lots of people make and pass through our doors. In this case it was a pay game but what if I brought down a C&D over a free title from someone just learning? No-one wants that hanging over them.

I quietly just stopped posting. It seemed safer and besides, remakes have been on the wane for a while. Things change. I was quite enjoying posting the monthly stuff until then, mind.

And on a more personal note with regards to Jeff, I make no secret that he’s an inspiration. I’ve had the privilege of seeing some of his stuff grow as an occasional part of his testing team, I owe my Sony contract to him in a vague way. Well, I owe it to Sony’s good treatment of him, at least. My own work owes a tremendous debt to him, which I’m sure comes as no surprise.

Today has been upsetting. Or rather yesterday when I first got the inkling that this stuff had been going on for a while, today just confirmed all that and yeah. Upsetting is the right word. And angering.

It’s upsetting to see Atari, who owe an immense debt to Jeff, treating him this way. Even as Infogrames wearing the skin of Atari, the value they derive from the Tempest IP (eurgh) is in no small part down to what Jeff contributed to its legacy. It’s upsetting to see how we treat those who make the games that make up our rich history at the best of times but this? League of its own.

And it’s upsetting to see people say that TxK is a clone of Tempest when Theurer’s DNA may be at the very root of it but Tempest 2000, 3000, Space Giraffe and TxK are the work of Jeff through and through. They’re his visions. They’re distinct and distinctive visions at that. No-one, and I mean this in the most literal sense it can be meant in, NO-ONE makes games through the kind of lenses Jeff makes videogames. No-one.

Tempest 2000 itself defines what most of us think of when we think of Tempest. Who thinks of Tempest as a series of pits, monsters appearing from holes in the ground? Pfft. Tempest is set on webs. IN SPACE. That’s Jeff’s vision right there. It might seem a silly, small thing but videogames are defined by the silliest, small things. Videogame progress is defined by the silliest, smallest things. Thanks to Jeff, what we think of as Tempest is very much defined by his work. The power ups, the structure, the AI droids, the resume best, the visual craziness. All Jeff’s vision. A vision built upon a sketch of a game from 1981, 20 years and over 40 years later, Jeff’s vision of what Tempest could be is the defining one. This in no way diminishes Dave Theurer’s groundbreaking work on the original, not one bit.

And TxK? To say that TxK is in itself an outright clone of Tempest 2000 is to do a disservice to the many, many mechanical changes, twists and turns the game takes as you progress. Sure, watch a video of the first stage and nod along that they’re similar. By the time the web is shifting shape underneath you, you’ve got to be some kind of complete idiot to think the two are the same.

TxK is as much an evolution of the ideas, themes and concepts that Jeff was exploring with Space Giraffe as it is a take on the more traditional tunnel shooter formula that is Tempest. It’s over 20 years of love for a style of game made videogame. I’m still kinda amazed that Jeff managed to sneak a lot of the stuff from what many claim to be his least accessible game into TxK and made it accessible without folks even noticing.

TxK is Jeff’s game. It does not belong to Atari.

To say that TxK is a clone of Tempest is to erase all our progress since 1981. That’s absurd and reductive and does us all a disservice.

But this is more than about Jeff, it’s more than about Tempest. It’s about how we evolve. It’s about how we treat the people who made the videogames that we build upon. It’s about if we let ourselves have the ability to evolve works or we prefer them locked in a corporate box, away from view, solely because someone once upon a time nearly fifteen years ago bought those things at auction. it’s about how we treat creators.

Videogames often shit on our own legacies and fucking hell, how often we put “IP” and “franchises” before the humans who made those things what they are.

Videogames are made by people and the sooner we learn to treat those people with a modicum of respect, the sooner we’ll be on our way to making videogames a better place.

Jeff deserves better than videogames give him. So do many more people who work within videogames.

Maybe this is as good a time as any to start showing some appreciation for their work instead. Stand up and show support for the people who make your videogames, don’t let them be crushed by stuff like this.

The Remakes Report: Plokablock

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Guess it’s time to take a break from staring at the guts of Plok comic strips (go give Ste & John some love) and write up some quick words about those old videogame things. Yay.

Also, it is entirely true that in the future all videogame developers will live in Wales. I’ve seen it because I can see the future. A bit like Mel Gibson in Machete Kills but not really with any of those dodgy views like Mel Gibson in real life or anything like that. Anyway. Videogames, eh?

Caverns

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We mentioned Caverns six whole years ago now, SIX! And it’s back except this time it’s on the web (this is why I don’t write movie tag lines). Cawhutuns? Caverns.

Caverns is a remake of possibly one of the earliest remakes, his own remake of the arcade game The Pit. Did you follow that? Good. Here’s what you need to know, the game is lovingly restored in all it’s ZX81 style glory. It has jewels, dwarves, aliens, lasers, Balrogs and spaceships. Now, by my reckoning that’s only a pirate, fez and a ninja short of everything you could ever want in a game. You need to collect some mithril before your spaceship can take off. There we go.

Go and play it!

Forums

Right. After a few months of not really having the time to do anything with the place proper, finally managed to find the time and a few quid down the back of the sofa to pay towards getting the forum a nice sexy new look. I know a lot of people weren’t fond of Vanilla and we sort of got stuck with it when it turned out that getting -out- of Vanilla wasn’t going to be especially easy (honestly, we tried) so if you’d prefer a nice more forum-y forum, there you go, we have that again.

Also a reminder that RR is ran on donations these days so if you’ve a few quid handy to chuck in to help us out with the hosting, it’s much appreciated, thanks.

SXPD

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The most exciting thing for me and fortuitously, it’s just dropped whilst I’m writing this post. SXPD is a comic-book-future interpretation of Death Chase. Yes. DEATH CHASE. Look at that picture and tell me that isn’t a fantastic looking thing. It’s a charity gig for One Big Game with a little help from Dave Perry. You know, Dave Perry not the other Dave Perry and available on iOS. I AM EXCITED.

Oh go on, one more pic…

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iPushover

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Whilst we’re on an app store tip, iPushover is Pushover without silly weird “let’s get snack sponsorship” stuff that for some reason we went through a phase of. It’s by one of the original authors and it’s available for a few Earth moneys.

It’s always nice to see stuff make a comeback in one form or another.

Remake Of The Month

…still has a few days left to run and surprisingly not that many comments considering it’s the all time great Klass Of ’99. Or maybe that’s why, because everyone already knows it’s great. I dunno. Feel free to go and comment it up here.

HEX

It’s Vectrex Hexagon time! In two flavours. HEX and VECTREXAGON. It’s like they read my mind or something.

That’ll do, thanks.

Hck!

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Hck! is inspired by/a demake of Brog’s Cybergallop which is in turn a demake of the card game Netrunner made for the recent Cassette 50 shindig round these here parts. That’s quite a rabbit hole really when you think about it isn’t it?

I think I need a lie down after all that.

Floor 13

But before I do, let’s get a bit political before we settle down. David Eastman is working through a remake of his excellent old Miggy/ST/PC game Floor 13. It’s still early-ish days as things go but one to keep an eye on. Or not. Don’t keep an eye on it. You ain’t seen it, right? It was never there. Honestly, there was nothing at the end of this article at all. I went for a lie down, remember?

Of course, were such a thing to exist I’m sure given our current political climate and post-Papers Please videogame world, it’d be something to be quite excited about. But I’m afraid we don’t have any clearance to report on it so… nothing to see here.

Sorry.

There’s no video of the original below:

Nope.

RR On OUYA

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I’m sorry, I’ve tried but every time I try and say OUYA out loud, I just end up with this stuck in my head for days…

I think I might need to see a doctor or something. ANYWAY! Moving swiftly along, I’ve been meaning to drop a mention to some of the remakes on OUYA and some of the stuff that’s come from the RR stables onto the flailing little grey box. So, whilst I sit down and gather together what’s going into this month’s RR Report, let’s do this.

Right, this is a megadump so I’m going to put all this stuff behind a jump.

Continue reading →

The RR Report 3: Knight Lights

A little bit later than intended this month, it’s Issue 3 of the RR Report.

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Kickstarter

This month sees us make a very special exception to our “No Kickstarters” rule because well, because a new Chaos is being kickstarted by Julian Gollop and we all want a new Chaos, don’t we?

With 25 days to go, it’s nearly halfway to its goal and it looks a wee bit special. I’m absolutely in love with the way they’ve fleshed out the old Speccy sprites into something smart and modern and fairly enamoured with the way it’s shaping up as a whole. Excited to see how this turns out.

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And now back to never speaking of Kickstarter never again!

Remake Of The Month

Last month I got the pleasure of choosing the forum’s Remake Of The Month, this month they’re not letting me anywhere near it! And I don’t blame them because I’d have only nominated Deathchase UFO again. Instead they’ve picked that 2600 game from the dawn of time where you stick keys to your face and smack into walls.

Go check that out and talk about it!

Exciting thing of the year

…that isn’t TxK, obviously. Lumo! Look at this. Seriously, just look at this.

And with a trailer. Oh god. It’s up on Greenlight now and I’m going to recommend hitting that vote button with all your heart. And your fingers.

The last time I got that sort of tingle over a game it was Mr Robot, a game I still have a fondness for but man, JRPG battle systems. I will never understand the attraction of those things or understand why you’d sandwich them into an otherwise great little isometric game.

Anyway, Lumo! Very Knight Lore, obviously. Which leads us in nicely to the game that never was, Mire Mare. Someone’s made a short little speccy game based on what Mire Mare might have been. It’s called Land Of Mire Mare and you can read all about it and download it over at World Of Spectrum. I’d love to see this fleshed out even further. Someone get on that.



“…but no, they have to go and make Kinect Sports 2:Sport Harder instead….”

Sorry, where was I? Ah, that was it, writing about videogames.

Virtuous

This has been on my list for a while ever since the illustrious and wonderful TimW pointed me in its direction. It’s Paragon! It’s a remake of an old DOS game (done with permission) and it’s very lovely indeed. Look, here’s some pictures because I like pictures…

And a video if you’re wondering how it plays:

BLURB!

Paragon is a game about navigating your ball around mazes, collecting shiny things, and narrowly escaping deadly spikes. Jump off of rails with precise timing to gather all the treasures, while avoiding death via impalement. Try not to stay on one rail for too long, the less you hesitate, the better your score!

It’s really nice. If you’ve bought the recent Brandon bundle, it’s in there. If you haven’t, then you can grab the game from here and also find details about the Android spin off, Paragon Infinite here. Not to be confused with Bioshock Infinite which is rubbish.

Honestly, I really enjoy Paragon. It’s short but nifty. Go take a peek.

Odds and sods

Also on my list for a while now, someone’s taking apart The Great Escape and putting it all back together again. Look here.

And here’s a new mini comp that may or may not go somewhere. Who knows? We’ll find out. It’s STRANGE COMBINATIONS and if you can think of a STRANGE COMBINATION of retro games that you want to selotape together and make a quick and silly game out of, do join in!

Right, I’m going to leave it there before this gets any more sprawling. See you in a few weeks for Ish 4 of The RR Report. *dadadumdumdummmmmm*

The Bundle Of Love For Brandon

We interrupt your normal remakes schedule for a brief period…

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Here at RR, we’re both massive fans and massively thankful for the work of Brandon Boyer, indie advocate, chairman of the current IGF and generally all round good human being. Generally, we like really good human beings and we want good human beings to thrive.

Brandon’s had a bit of an unfortunate turn in the health department recently having been diagnosed with and treated for cancer and then just to make things a little bit (ok, ok, not a little bit) worse, his health provider refused to stump up the bill for any of the treatment. So a group of devs and creatives (myself included, sorry for bringing the quality down a bit) have all been working with the folks over at Humble Bundle to do a very special bundle to help make sure Brandon can cover his treatment.

There’s a massive amount of really good stuff in the bundle (and I think it might well be the biggest bundle yet?) and it’s going for $25, all proceeds going direct to help Brandon continue to be a good human being and more to the point, a good human being who doesn’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars he doesn’t have just for being ill. Because that’s not nice for anyone.

Windows Only

Actual Sunlight (Win DRM free)
Auralux (Win DRM free)
AirMech (unlock key)
Sepulchre – (Win DRM free)
Shipwreck – (Win DRM free)

Multiformat (DRM free)

Bagfull of Wrong (Win DRM free, one Android game)
Castles in the Sky + Soundtrack Win/Mac DRM free
Fancy Skulls – Win/Mac/Linux
God of Blades + Soundtrack – Win/Mac/Linux/Android
Goscurry + Soundtrack – Win/Mac/Linux
Mazing – Win/Mac/Linux
Paragon – Win/Linux
POP: Methodology Experiment One + Soundtrack – Win/Mac
QbQbQb – Win/Mac/Linux
Sokobond – Win/Mac/Linux
Warp Juggler – Win/Android

Steam Keys

Blocks That Matter + Soundtrack Win/Mac/Linux/Steam
Dynamite Jack – Win/Mac/Linux/Android/Steam
Ethan: Meteor Hunter – Win/Steam
McPixel + Soundtrack – Win/Mac/Linux/Steam
MouseCraft – Steam
Proteus – Win/Mac/Linux/Steam
Stacking + Soundtrack – Win/Mac/Linux/Steam
Thomas Was Alone + Soundtrack Win/Mac/Linux/Steam
VVVVVV + Soundtrack – Win/Mac/Linux/Steam
Waking Mars + Soundtrack – Win/Mac/Linux/Android/Steam
Wizorb + Soundtrack – Win/Mac/Linux/Steam
World of Goo + Soundtrack Win/Mac/Linux/Android/Steam

Music

BitTrip Beat Soundtrack
BitTrip Fate Soundtrack
BitTrip Runner Soundtrack
Ensnare
Quixotica

So if you fancy an already fine and growing collection of amazing games and to help out a good human being, here’s a button you can click and stuff to make things happen.

The Videogame 50

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Oh no. Look what we’ve gone and done! This is terrible.

In honour(?) of the 1983 classic “Cascade Cassette 50” a bunch of people from the RR forums, Twitter and elsewhere have managed to all chuck their oars in to make another one. Because OBVIOUSLY having one wasn’t enough. Having two (if you include Peejay’s) wasn’t enough. NO! We had to have another one.

So for 2014, for the glory! The Videogame 50 is the Retro Remakes tribute to Cascade’s Cassette 50. It is somewhere in the region of 50 nothing-short-of-amazing videogames that we’re absolutely totally completely positive you’ll adore with all your heartses. With such classics as THE WERST DOCTOR WHO GAME and ROBOCODPIECE you know you’re in for the time of your life.

Naturally enough, the whole collection comes with a FREE DIGITAL WATCH courtesy of our specialist digital watch supplier HAVSOFT.

Thanks Havsoft. Thavsoft.

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Go get the Videogame 50
Videogame 50 Forum Topic

The RR Report 2: Flappy Dogs

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Having spent way too much time in the latter part of January exhausting myself writing about terrible Bluetooth Keyboard things, it’s nice to be able to settle back in and write about things that wot are good. And so, without much further ado, February’s RR Report.

New things on old things

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This is one of those things I’ve been meaning to post about for ages but thanks to Caff for reminding me of it, Ant Attack running on a ZX81 courtesy of Bob Smith and isn’t that fantastic? I love that this even exists. Made with the assistance of Sandy White too. Nice.

Also, things I’ve been meaning to post about. Can’t believe I missed this off last month’s list. Deathchase running on the Atari XE. Look at this, it’s superb.

Download it here.

Remake Of The Month

Everyone knows Deathchase is the best game, that’s why I chose it as this month’s forum game of the month. Come talk about it with us, or more specifically, Deathchase UFO because they made me choose a remake.

Tree!

Long time RR cohort, GK has been rummaging for games for us and turned up a few tiny pics of a Sentinel remake stuck in some sort of self described development hell. Shame as there’s always room for more Sentinel remakes. Looks good from the pics too.

FWIW, my current favourite Sentinel-ish game is Surveillant for iOS by one of my fave old 80’s devs, Martin Wheeler.

It’s only a few quid on the iThing and it’s really nice.

In HTML5 corner, we’ve got Space Invaders 2013. A slightly slippier-slidey experience than we’re all probably used to but as it’s a game made for someone’s ten year old son to play, let’s not knock that, eh?

I realise I’m probably the only person alive who doesn’t tire of playing Space Invaders remakes (or Space Invaders in general, really. Was quite happy finding a machine tucked away in Blackpool last year) but in case you’re like me, here’s a link.

On a similar note, one of my childhood fave Space Invaders remakes of very old gets the remake treatment. Space Raiders from Psion.

sw1

How about a Sabre Wulf remake for good measure? I’ve lost count of just how many years Darkside was working on this but last year he finally put a bow on it and sent it out into the world. So here it is for everyone to play, Sabre Wulf: The Remake. Huzzah! I love it when a game gets finished.

Grab Sabre Wulf here.

Retro-ish

I asked Thomas Hopper to throw me over a few screens to post of his upcoming retro-videogame Console Saga (careful now) partly because a) I’ve got a heck of a soft spot for his stuff b) I like platform games and c) It looks like the BMO game no-one will make me. It’s still very much a work in progress but here’s a few pics.

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And a WIP video for good measure:

I like pics. Please, do send me pictures of your remakes/retro inspired games for me to post.

Commercial Corner

The 12th sees TxK, Jeff Minter’s latest and most excellent videogame finally see a release on PSVita. I posted some pics of it in last month’s report and you’re all only saved from a repeat of that this month by Mrs Bob steadfastly refusing to stand there and push the “take screenshot” button repeatedly.

I might have mentioned this one or two times before but it is a tremendously good game. Essentially, if you were the kind of person who sat back and said “that Space Giraffe should have been less eye bleedy and more like Tempest 2000”, this is the very game you asked for. If you’re the kind of person who just wants a really, really good man-at-top-of-his-game arcade game, then TxK is that as well. So that’s pretty good.

Jeff’s done one of those great “here’s my history with this thing” posts that’s well worth a read so erm, go read. Also, don’t forget that the amazing GR++ is donationware right this very second and it’s very, very good indeed.

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A very quick note to add that Doomdark’s Revenge should be out for iOS in the next week or so. So keep an eye out for that one, obviously.

Also worth mentioning but nothing much to show yet, a shout out to Steve Iles and team who are going to be revisiting dog punching sim Saboteur. And yes, “team” involves Clive Townsend. Here’s the Vita Lounge with some of the vague information we have so far and here’s Steve on Twitter if you want to give him a bit of a follow to keep an eye on progress.

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And landing in my mailbox yesterday, Astroids. Not quite the worst videogame name edit (that’s still Saucelifter, sorry Paul) but not far off. Anyway, it certainly looks like a fairly pretty thing indeed but as with all these things, the proof is in the playing and all that. There’s loads of screenshots over this-a-way and for those curious, it’s a $10 buy in.

Not sure what’s with the Stayin’ Alive thing there.

A final commercial corner shout out to 137 BC, which I’ve been informed is inspired by 1992’s Siege. I was very drunk during 1992 so can’t possibly comment. I’ve been sent a code to take a look but I haven’t had time between getting the code and writing this piece up so sincere apologies there. It looks interesting enough and I’m always up for some iOS strategy stuff so I’ll nudge you over in this direction to take a look yourself.

If you’d like to have your game featured in our monthly round up or if you’ve meandered past a remake on your travels, let me know about it! You can drop a link in our forum or mail me direct at oddbob@blueyonder.co.uk *or* tell me about it on Twitter. I’m @retroremakes over there, you can’t miss me, big hairy dude with the swears.

The forum is and will be your best bet and it’s a small place full of very pleasant people so do pop by and say hello. Also, please don’t join the forum or mail or tweet to tell me about your crowdfunding campaign because you’ll just be wasting your time, sorry.

And the obligatory reminder that Retro Remakes sets me back a small fortune each month and donations to help ease the costs are more than welcome. There’s a donate button in the sidebar to the left and I’ll always be grateful if and when someone clicks it.

Right, cheers. Until next time…

RR Mini Comp: One Screen Cassette 50

Oh god, how did I let Gordon talk me into this. OK everyone, settle down there’s no prizes, it’s just for fun but here we go…

In the spirit of “making things”, we’re going to hold a bit of a mini competition to get a lot of us to pull our own fingers out of our own rear ends and the first out the gate is… wait for it… waiiiit for it….

THE RR CASSETTE 50 ONE SCREEN REMAKE MINI COMPETITION

Or Arcasfifonscreeremminco for short. That might actually be the noise one of my cat makes when scraping his face down the glass door to announce that he’s back from sexing across the road and would like some food now please but we can run with this anyway.

So from today (17th Jan) to next month (17th February) we’re inviting people to do the following:

1. Make a really crap game. This is important, it has to be crap.
2. Make that game a one screen remake of another game. Remembering it has to be crap.
3. Tell us about it. Because if you don’t tell us about it, no-one will know you ever made it and wooooooo scary. If a game gets made in the forest etc…

That’s it! Then we’ll round them all up and post them because why not, right?

Probably best not to spend too much time on this either because if you do, you might accidentally end up with something good and no-one wants that.

Forum topic is here or you can just post a link to your game in the comments here and I’ll hoover it up towards the deadline if you really want. Probably best to dump it in the forum but hey, whatever! Make a game! Come say hi and make us a really crap one screen remake of something, anything. Last time I tried this, I ended up tackling ambient-frog-killer game Proteus so yeah.

Over to you.

The RR Report 1: Midwinter and mice and all things nice.

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Right then, welcome one and all to the first monthly RR report taking a look at this month in remakes, old things and the like brought to you by little me.

Bit Nippy

First out the gate is something I’m *very* excited about and that’s an official remake of Midwinter brought to you by Chris Wild and team, previously responsible for the great remake of Lords Of Midnight and soon, Doomdark’s Revenge. I’ve known for a while that Chris was planning this and trying to get a team together to make it happen so I’m really glad to see this as a thing that’s actually really happening.

Midwinter is one of those games where if handled correctly a remake can make it become everything it could have/should have been (delete as applicable) first time round. One of those rare cases of if only machines had as much grunt as the author (in this case the much missed Mike Singleton) had ambition. So yeah, looking forward to seeing this progress.

You can keep up to date on the Midwinter dev blog and I’ve embedded all the assets that have been dropped into the wild below. There will, as you’d expect in 2014, be a Kickstarter coming soon to raise some funds up for it.

Incidentally, Dan who’s handling the writing for New-Midwinter is also responsible for the lovely Speccy Nation which is well worth a read if you haven’t already taken a gander over it. It’s dead cheap too.

They Sold A Crillion

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Georg’s Hitblock, a remake of the old C64 game Crillion is one of those games that seems to have been hanging around remakes for a very long time but without the love and attention I’ve always felt it deserved.

With that in mind, it’s nice to see that Georg has taken a break from bending C64’s to his will and spent some time putting together Hitblock Deluxe, a spanking new updated version of the game with lots and lots of things. I’ve not had chance to duck in and take a look yet but it’s on the list and something I’m really looking forward to ducking into.

Balls Are Cool

fezballFezball! A remake of Jezball, sadly without an actual fez but whatevs, we can’t have everything. I also can’t work out how on Earth you make portrait screenshots fit onto this blog either so we’re all a bit at sea sometimes.

Moving swiftly along…

For the small fee of a measly 50-odd-pence you can grab yourself a copy of this lovely little remake and play it on the go.

Do grab it here, it’s very nice. With thanks to Chris for tweeting at me.

Ooohyaaarrr

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I’m still waiting for the red weed to emit itself from that tiny little box by the television but in the meantime, there’s been a lot of OUYA activity from RR-ites. I’ll cover a few more next month but for now the ever lovely and esteemed Ian Price has dropped his latest retro styled game on there in the shape of Aquaventure.

Which is really, really good.

I’ve got nothing but love for Ian’s chunky pixels (seriously, they’re my favourite chunky pixels) so if you’ve got an OUYA, show it some love. Here’s the OUYALYTICS page and here’s the download queue link thingy.

Make Videogames

The weekend of the 11th sees the Naked Twine Jam taking place. Anyone who’s followed my words for a number of years will know I have a lot of time and respect for both what Twine is (gloriously easy to pick up hypertext tool) and what it’s achieved in terms of bringing people into writing videogames (it has brought lots of new voices into games).

Due to its free and accessible nature it’s the one thing that convinced my good lady wife that she could make a game and well, I never thought that would happen.

If you’ve ever had a little story that you wanted to tell via the medium of videogames or if you’ve ever just hankered after making a little something just because, Twine is a really good place to start and the Naked Twine Jam is a beautiful low pressure way to go about that.

Take a look at Anna’s tutorial if you’re looking for an in and I look forward to playing what you come up with.

Little Mouse

In other commercial remake news I’ve been playing a fair bit of the Sega remake of Castle Of Illusion this past week after grabbing it cheap in the Steam sale and man, isn’t that a pretty thing indeed?

I think my favourite part was where I realised that I might have stumbled into the tree boss as he was on the tree toilet judging by the look on his face. No, really, take a look at this…

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Totally on the tree-bog.

Sadly unlike the original where the game and the graphics seemed to compliment each other, the remake seems more like a game in service to its art. A lot of changes come across as though they’re there because it makes the game looks more actual-cartoon or a bit more like Trine 2 if you squint.

The boss fights, which were never the strong point of Castle Of Illusion anyway, are now fairly grit-your-teeth-through worthy and after the third or fourth totally bored attempt at the Jack In The Box fight (it wasn’t hard, just boring and my attention kept wandering off) I was fair ready to knife whoever wrote “make boss fights a bit worse” on the design document.

Still, it’s clearly had a lot of love invested in it and it’s definitely worth a look at all the same if it’s going cheap and it is exceptionally pretty indeed.

Imogenius

SaulC from the forums is looking to get in touch with Michael St Aubyn, the chap behind BBC Micro and Ovine remade Imogen to get permission for a C64 port. If anyone’s got any clues as to whereabouts or ways to get in touch, give Saul a nod on the forums either in this topic or via PM, he’d love to hear from you.

TxK

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TxK is Tempest. You will play it like Tempest. Except well, it’s not really Tempest, it’s not even Tempest 2000 it’s TxK if anyone asks.

It is, of course, the latest thing that will be dropping from Llamasoft very soon for the PSVita and I’ve had my hands on a few beta builds to date and I can promise everyone that if you’ve been pining for Jeff to revisit Tempest without the forward-to-the-future and sorry-about-your-eyes of Space Giraffe, this is the game you’ve been waiting for. It does some amazing, amazing things with the webs that both feel really natural and boggle at exactly the same time.

No word on a release date or price yet but I can tell you that it is bloody amazing. Here’s some pics I took a month or so back for you to admire.

Until Next Time…

That’s a wrap for this month. We’ll be back again in February, hopefully with a little less leaning on the commercial side and also kicking off our “old game of the month” feature that we’re all just trying to suss out how to sort and things.

We’ll end with what will become a usual reminder.

If you’d like to have your game featured in our monthly round up or if you’ve meandered past a remake on your travels, let me know about it! You can drop a link in our forum or mail me direct at oddbob@blueyonder.co.uk *or* tell me about it on Twitter. I’m @retroremakes over there, you can’t miss me, big hairy dude with the swears.

The forum is and will be your best bet and it’s a small place full of very pleasant people so do pop by and say hello. Also, please don’t join the forum or mail or tweet to tell me about your crowdfunding campaign because you’ll just be wasting your time, sorry.

And the obligatory reminder that Retro Remakes sets me back a small fortune each month and donations to help ease the costs are more than welcome. There’s a donate button in the sidebar to the left and I’ll always be grateful if and when someone clicks it.

Right, cheers. Until next time…

The Future Of RR

OK, so what to do with RR has been on my mind for a while. Last year saw us reach the lowest amount of posts ever, I mean, it’s understandable as you’ll find out but still, it’s something that I had to consider. RR was and had to be the last thing on my mind. Well, RR aside from the community anyway. They’re great.

It’s not even like last year was especially unique, over the past few years I’ve had to contend with my own illnesses (I totally do not recommend near carking it two years in succession) and that of Mrs B who has the sort of collection of ills that aren’t going to be going away any time soon either. I’m a dad and hello to any parents out there, I don’t really think I need to say anything more about that do I? And of course, inbetween all this, I write videogames. I like writing videogames, it’s fun. I’ll be doing a lot of that this year and I’m really excited about it.

What last year did bring was one of those “it all sort of rolls into each other” kind of years, it starts off with Mrs B having a rough pregnancy, an amazing little girl popping out into the world a bit early but resolute and screamy then it rolls over into me having to go in for an operation (which to much hilarity left me looking like Frankenstein’s monster, bolts and all) and then Mrs B getting really ill and for bonus points apost-new-sister kid going off his nut. Just one of those things would have been enough to distract me, as it is it sort of felt like I just bounced from one to another with no respite. By the time I got a break, it was up for some judging and stuff on the IGF (which was a great experience).

So here I am in 2014 looking at a few things and looking at what went to the wall and what didn’t and well, it’s fairly obvious that RR didn’t get the love and attention it deserved.

There’s a lot of reasons why RR was first to the wall. It takes a lot of effort to go out and hunt for games, you can multiply that effort by lots when you’re in the eye of a storm and clutching for spare moments. As much as I love writing about other people’s games, as much as I love getting the word out about games that I think someone else might enjoy (even if I personally don’t, that’s the value of curation is to me – not just amaze-o things *I* like). It’s been pretty much just me at the helm for a while now, I’ve had some lovely help on the back end from Gary (STomps) whenever anything has come down to the wire and I wouldn’t have made it through a lot of the server side stuff without him, Ortoslon punted out a fair few games here and there onto the front page and that’s much appreciated but mainly, it’s just been me. And well, as you can see, there’s a lot of me spread thinly (gosh, that sounds rude, you know what I mean).

And what to do with RR has been on my mind a lot over the last year or so. We tried shifting it to a more general thing but without a constant stream of posters to pick up the slack that didn’t work. I’m not sad about that though because Indiegames.com picked up, FreeIndieGam.es exists now and it’s glorious *and* has a Sunday section on RPS getting the word out and IndieStatik is going great guns and doing brilliantly. To top it off there’s loads of other sites I should mention but really, it’ll just get a bit “wahey us” in here but getting the word out about these things is easier than ever now with the best backbone of site support in ages. That’s brillo. I’m glad to have nudged a few games out there along the way but we’re not needed for that sort of thing and that’s OK.

There’s also the small matter about whatever happened to the Retro Remake. They don’t get made in the number they used to, folks have moved on to making mobile things, desktop things, their own things in the main. That’s brill! All of that is brill. It left us in a bit of a bind for things to actually post about and yeah, that’s sort of also why we tried a shift out. I feel no shame in saying that maybe that wasn’t the smartest idea. I’m still glad we gave it a go anyway. Aaaand y’know, there’s been companies who’ve got a bit of the old slap-happy on the C&D’s and that worries me no end, especially being in the UK with a server hosted in the US and blah blah blah so it’s not like we can be quite so cavalier as we once were way back in 2000 or what have you. Times changed. Things happened. Things moved on, people moved on. For a while there, we also pushed the bar for what a remake could be up a lot, all of us. That was ace too.

And a week or so ago I posed the question to myself “what do I do with RR”. Then I stopped posing it to myself and posed it to the people of Twitter. Then I posed it to the people of the RR forums. If you’re ever having doubts about anything, the constant refrain of my existence over the past ten or so years around this place has been “people are brilliant”. That totally remains true right now also. “Do what’s best for you” came a lot of the responses. Once we’d got past that, we got down to a large amount of people, myself included, who didn’t want RR to die. Yeah, there’s some folks who’d like to see us roll back to 2005 again but that’s never going to happen, that time has gone. So it was decided. RR will live on.

RR *will* live on. But RR needs to be something sustainable. RR also needs to forget about numbers going up on a stats page and just get back to the nitty gritty of posting about games that are remakes of old games, games that are a bit like old games and (we decided) dropping a few nods for some lovely old games too. It should be obvious that there’s no way I can commit to a regular and often posting schedule and we’re all old now so I won’t ask anyone else to do that either. After all this time it dawned on me that that’s where we got it all wrong really. We got it all wrong by burning out at every chance we could to burn out and everything suffered for it. I inherited RR as a site that pushed people to post and to keep the posts flowing at all times even when the posts weren’t there and it shunted along doing that over and over even when it should have become clear that it was burning things out.

So no more burning out. Not around RR anyway. That’s the way it has to be. It’s the first thing I put in place when it comes to making games, it’s the last thing I do with stuff I’m custodian of. No more.

What are we going to do then?

First up, we’ve rebooted the forum. Vanilla is dead, long live a normal forum. Come along and say “hi”. We’re going to use the forum as a way of collecting links together to post on the front page too and here’s what we’re going to do about that.

We’re going to do monthly posts. That’s it. Just one a month. Maaaybe we’ll stretch to more but we can always manage one. If I’m struck down, if I’m busy or what have you, with only one post being needed, someone else can come along and pick up the slack for me. It makes things manageable. It keeps the word out there of things that maybe no-one else would write about or care too much about, y’know? It’ll be a digest of games we’ve liked, remakes we’ve found and the odd nod for an old game we (people of the RR forums) think is cool and worth a mention or a replay.

How are we going to go about that? Well, let’s break it down. If 4 people a month give me 4 links to remakes or cool retro games (on desktop, mobile, 8/16/32 bit machines, wherever), I’ve got a good post. If more people give me more links, I’ve got an amazing post to make. If lots of people give me lots of links, I’ve got a nice backlog growing to keep me posting for a very long time. That’s how we’re going to play this. And we’re going to do this for a year to see how it goes. Maybe it’ll blow us all out the water expectations-wise and we’ll have lots of games to post about and maybe we won’t. We don’t get shit without trying though and damn, we’re going for this.

There’s another thing. If we’re playing to an audience of ten, that’s cool because you know what? I’d sooner ten people who gave a shit than one hundred who might not. So frequency be damned. Disappearing off the face of the planet be damned.

And the final thing? I’m not going to be shy in saying that RR costs me £100 a month and if anyone wants to help offset that cost with a donation at any time, I’m no longer going to be all “mmm, can’t ask for help on this” because every contribution no matter how small helps take the load off me a bit and helps ease up the stress of keeping RR running. We do a lot of good still with what RR hosts even in dormant mode, we look after a lot of remakers, we have a stash of accessible games that we store to keep them online and available for the people who need them, we have archives that might well also lie dormant or rarely get updated but are still valuable. Even if the front page ever goes to the wall, we’ll be keeping all that because that stuff is important. We’ve been funneling off bonus cash from games made into paying for RR for a long time now and to be blunt, I’ve not put a new game out for a year so you can imagine how the sales are looking now, yeah?

So yes, I’m putting the donation button back into the sidebar and I’ll be very grateful if you click it. But even if you don’t or can’t, we’re going to truck along anyway and there’s other ways to help keep RR on the road. Before I finally shut up, let’s have a look at them:

Come and say hi on our forum and lurk around. Tell us about your videogames or just nip along for a chat. We’re still a bunch of old buggers and we don’t want to know about your kickstarter or your greenlight campaign or your crowdfunding but we’d love to hear about what else you’re working on. Especially if it’s retro styled/a retro remake but also if it’s just cool.

If you’ve meandered past a remake on your travels, let me know about it! You can drop a link in our forum (you didn’t see that one coming, right?) or mail me direct at oddbob@blueyonder.co.uk *or* tell me about it on Twitter. I’m @retroremakes over there, you can’t miss me, big hairy dude with the swears.

You can have a read of the “lots of words that make up the plan” here too. If that’s your bag.

There we are then. RR. We’re carrying on. I’m sorry about interruptions in services, getting things slightly wrong occasionally and all that jazz. Sincerely. But to the future.

To the future. And if that future is a small audience and 25 people on a forum so be it as long as the small audience and the 25 people on the forum are happy. Besides which, there’s a fucking official Chaos remake happening and holy shit, we’re not missing that for anything.

Peace and thanks.

-R

The Year Of Horace

…as we venture finally into this, the year of Horace, we’d like to announce that Retro Remakes is taking a short break for a few weeks whilst we tidy up things a bit. And get back to that thing we used to do fairly alright before everyone stopped making them and larks, y’know, talking about old games and that.

We’re on it. We’re sorting things out RIGHT NOW. It’s just going to take a few weeks because we’re all old and I don’t think that’s anything we can sort out?

Catch you in a few weeks in this, the year of Horace.

Love you.

31 games in 31 days

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I *love* it when people do things like this, obviously the end results are going to be sketchy but that doesn’t matter, right? From this sort of thing, interesting things happen. (Says the man who once made a game based entirely on a forum joke which then pretty much punted me to where I am now and stuff, so…)

Here we are then, 31 games, most of them playable in your browser although some struggle a bit with Firefox. Most sketchy as well you’d expect from things wot got made in a day and all that but no matter, all we’re missing now is a link. So here we go with that. Here’s a link.

Spellbound

spellboundedI’ve been sitting on this one for a while now and it’s finally OK to say something about it so here it is.

Magic Knight is making his comeback rather soon in a new version of Spellbound for the OUYA.

Making-it-happen duties go to Mike ’48 Hours and I’m a gonner’ Hall with doodles by Saul ‘Time is running out for Gimbel’ Cross and with David ‘If I had a hammer’ Jones in an advisory and extending the game capacity, perhaps this might be the fifth reason to lay your grubby hands on an Ouya.

So, what’s happening then? It’s been a labour of love for Mike and Saul for a while now and with David Jones jumping in with both official approval and assistance, there’s a bit more to come than originally planned. So no longer will it just be a straight-ish version of the original 48/128k game with new doodles, there’ll be an extended cut to play through also with new spells, puzzles and all that jazz from David and with some concessions to the more modern human being when it comes to micro management, windimation and all that jazz.

If you’re not bothered by any of that, fear not, the 48k/128k versions are planned to remain fairly intact as well.

There we go then. A new Spellbound. For the OUYA. Official and all that stuff. Coming soon. Huzzah.

Mr Aahh!!

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Mr Aahh!! – 69p

What’s a really good game on the iPod, Rob? “Mr Aahh, why?”

Just a few years back, that would have been the first answer I’d have thrown at you. Still, whenever I think of really great, simple, iThing games I end up thinking of Mr Aahh!!, mainly because Mr Aahh!! is great.

Mr Aahh!! is the follow up to Mr Space. Mr Space sees you guide a stick figure to safety as the walls hastily crash together around you, forever and ever trying not to get his sticky head squished by big, thick, black walls of pixel death. Miss the spot and it’s more Mr Splat than Mr Space. Mr Aahh!! abandons the whole space thing and is a leap of faith simulator. You’re on a platform. There’s another platform over there. Use your rope to leap onto it. Land in the center of the platform for a higher score and don’t miss.

It often ends in a miss but you’ve probably gathered that.

It’d be a bit rubbish if it didn’t.

Don’t get too comfy with the jumping either because who knows which way or how strong the wind will blow on your next leap. From jump to jump, you’re always weighing up your timing, weighing up the wind, trying to make sure that each jump gives you the most points and you keep going and going and going because you want a bigger score.

Cripes, it’s great. One of those games where although simple, it all just pulls together into something difficult to put down, sort of “if Hunchback went on forever and wasn’t rubbish and had more ropes and less knights” kind of thing.

mzl.ordmmwcb.320x480-75Sadly, whilst entertaining enough in and of themselves, the follow ups Mr Oops and Mr Ninja never quite hit the same compulsive must play heights.

They’re worth a gander but Mr Aahh!! remains an easy high point for Ponos and is still one of my fave things to ever crop up on the app store.

Finger Sling

Finger Sling – Free

mzl.lxuqgrmf.320x480-75Under normal iOS rules for naming a game, Finger Sling would be a game where you sling fingers. I don’t know how or why we’ve got into this terrible funk with names, the kind where we end up with a game where you shoot lots of robots called “Shoot Many Robots” or a game where you feed something oil called “Feed Me Oil” or a game where you run through a temple called “Temple Run”.

Can you imagine if we’d have had this sort of thing at the dawn of videogames? “I’m just nipping off for a game of Shoot Aliens”, “Anyone fancy a game of Eat Pills?” or “Ride a bird into battle”. Dear me. Just deary dear me.

I realise that with TEMPEST the absolute best videogame name went fairly early but we can do better than this, surely? We haven’t become so bereft of imagination, so desperate to immediately communicate everything for fear someone might not throw their miniscule amount of money our way in case we don’t name our game after what you do in it have we? Have we? Can anyone even hear me anymore? What do you mean you were too busy playing

Luckily, no such worries here! Finger Sling isn’t about slinging fingers! HURRAY! It’s about using your finger (wait for it) to sling things. So I think that’s OK? Anyway, it’s an astonishingly simple thing. It’s certainly not a lot to write home about in the looks department and the presentation all round is just generally “well, here’s as much as we need” and you know, that is fine. Perfectly fine. It’s super fine when the game is as enjoyable as this.

Again, it’s one of those things that uses touch well. Like Skullpogo using tilt to bounce and using that wobbly hand shakey thing to its advantage, this uses a ball on a pulley kind of thing that just feels nice to play around with. And the game? Oh, it’s pretty simple really. You have one big ball in the middle which sits inside a target. Balls are flung at it from the outside to try and knock the big ball outside of the target area. Your job is to keep the big ball in the middle by knocking the rest of the balls out the way using the power of stretchy slingy ness.

Anyway, it’s great but I believe it’s broken on the iPad unfortunately. It does however still work absolutely fine on my slightly older touch so yes. Get finger slinging. It’s gotten me through far too many long coach journeys over the past few years.

Flamin Stack

Flamin Stack – 69p

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One of the things that really stood out for me whilst compiling this selection of iOS games is just how many of them, were they released today, would probably be ruined by “put a coin slot in it” lunacy.

Take Flamin Stack for example. It’s simple. It’s one of those gamble for tickets for a box of Dennis The Mennis bangers machines you get at arcades, a series of squares flit across the screen, TEST YOUR REACTIONS.

Can you line them up or will it all go nobs and bam, you fail? Press a button to find out.

Horrible, cynical, manipulative thing that it is in the first place, always, always with that “I could have made that, just let me try again” and then throw in the higher you get, the bigger the prize, but man, the game is so fast, the speed those squares flit past incredibly difficult to predict their landing unless you’re some sort of crazy superhuman freak but I am a human and I CAN DO THIS. I WILL DO THIS. ONE MORE GO.

Bam. Screwed it again.

And sure enough, surfing around to see if there’s been more things of a similar nature released recently, there they are with their put a coin slot in it mentality. No longer do you get to sit in comfort and enjoy these cynical bastard machines without having to worry about pumping your money into a slot and hoping for a few pieces of card in return (or if you’re a proper big grown up in the grown up area, maybe it’ll give you a fiver or something, I don’t know), now it’s just put that money in the money piss hole and get nothing back but a digital blip.

God, how did we get here? The arcade died for us to have comfortable one payment entertainment at home in high definition but no, it’s never enough.

Where was I? Flamin Stack, right. Yeah. Flamin Stack. It’s a game where you press a button to line some squares up and it’s dead fast and stuff and like that thing in the arcades, just like that thing in the arcades except you pay 69p once and like me, you can play it for years to come when you’ve got 5 minutes on the bus or on the bog and you don’t have to pay again because the person who made this isn’t horrible.

It even scores you in the minus so you can get that horrid feeling of just how much money you would have lost doing it for real. Or if you buy one of those other ones filled to the brim with IAP.

Be careful out there and don’t have nightmares.

Skullpogo

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Skullpogo (£1.49)

In which you play a skeleton on a pogo stick bouncing on the hordes of the undead. Sometimes.

Most of the time you’ll probably be bouncing on pigs and chickens and bats, got to pogo on bats and getting power ups and making it rain on zombies and leaping off the screen and plummeting onto a poor unsuspecting pigs head with abandon and a sproingy ferocity.

And grinning. Mustn’t forget the grinning.

Because Skullpogo is one of those games. The kind where try as you might, you can’t grimace at it. Even when it pulls a reverse controls power up out the bag, enough to consign any lesser game to the fiery pits of Wales, you still sort of smile at it because who’d have thought it but pogo sticking around on pig’s heads IS tremendously enjoyable.

Skullpogo then. It’s a cheap bag of smiles. With a pig. Or twelve.