Welcome to another edition of Retro Newsflash, the bi-weekly column where we cover news and current events on the retro gaming scene. Play that ocarina, white boy. Bring on the briefs.
All-new Japanese freeware retro-style space shooter recently released
On February 12th, a German retro gaming blog posted a tip about a new retro-themed sci-fi shoot-’em-up released as a freeware download on a Japanese website. “Sounds too good to be true,” you may be thinking. Well, before you pass judgment, check out a gameplay clip on YouTube. Consider checking out my review of the game, called Infinos. Really, though, you should probably just download it yourself and sit amazed at a bit of serendipity for retro shmup fans.
Original Star Fox game turns 20 years old
For notable gaming anniversaries, the headline says it all. What can I add? Star Fox is a wonderful franchise, and the 16-bit initial entry was a distinctive gem, not only showing off the Super FX chip but allowing players to experience sci-fi space combat in a way never quite seen before. While many will point to the Nintendo 64 iteration as when the franchise truly found its groove, I still think the first game holds up really well.
The greatest pillow ever created is going woefully unappreciated
Guys, someone sewed a Mega Man 2 pillow. You can read all about its creation in a blog post by its creator. Yet this happened years ago. I mean, honestly, feel free to criticize me for including this in the column, because it is hardly news. But I only learned about it recently, and feel like we should really be giving this more attention. At the very least, you can follow Jenny on Twitter. Let me repeat this, one more time, for emphasis: This is the greatest pillow ever.
First Person Mario: Endgame video released on YouTube
What if someone took Super Mario Bros 3 and recreated its environments in three dimensions, then simulated what it would be like to play in a first-person perpective? Well, not only has a creative, patient YouTuber done exactly that with the First Person Mario: Endgame video, but with one particular mind-blowing distinction: This is not just a “haha SMB3 would look like that” experiment, no, this is a recreation of an actual gameplay run on the NES game rendered with 3D graphics. In other words: If you watch the upper-left corner of the video, you can see the NES version of what is going on in the 3D version in sync. Cool.
Terra Incognita, a retro-style RPG, gaining momentum on Kickstarter
Like I have said before, the crowdsourced fundraising website Kickstarter always seems to have retro gaming-relevant projects going on, and a whole column could probably be dedicated just to covering them. While the popularity of such items is wonderful, if not a little wallet-draining, it does take a special project to catch my eye nowadays. Terra Incognita fits the bill. Check it out: The concept is a PC game that looks and plays like a 16-bit RPG. The original hook was that the funding goal was rather modest, weighing in at only £500. That was it, just £500, a stark difference from the piles of thousands upon thousands of dollars being asked for by other creators. Not only did Terra Incognita reach that initial goal quickly, but at press time, the game still has 12 days of funding left to go and has already reached over £1,400 total, allowing it to hit stretch goals to add bonus gameplay functionalities and possible other platforms for release. Seriously, I recommend checking this out. If you still need convincing, consider this craziness: A pledge of £1 gets you the full game. If you cannot spare that, to support making what is essentially a new full-fledged 16-bit RPG experience, I have to question your hobbyist priorities.
Follow-Ups & Quick Hits
Speaking of Kickstarter, remember that project I mentioned in my last column, from the creator of Commander Keen, involving not only a new game but a game-creation tool? With only a few days left, it looks like it is not going to make it. I cannot praise Terra Incognita enough for only asking for several hundred dollars, rather than hundreds of thousands. … A competitive retro gamer did some careful calculations in order to post a full playthrough of Cliffhanger on NES that ends with 0 points. While I cannot speak to his personality quirks, that is some strangely dedicated gaming. … Michael Jordan recently turned 50 years old. That, in itself, is unrelated to retro games, but when the Chicago Tribune interviewed people to get stories about him in order to comprise a list of his top 50 moments, his Pac-Man strategy made the countdown. … One more game-release anniversary: R.C. Pro Am turned 25 years old. Dang.
And that, my friends, is a wrap. If you have any news tips, please send them to me. Seriously, newshounds: If you have a lead on something, let me know, because I want to report it! Remember: CONGLATURATIONS. Thanks for reading.