This morning I work up early to download the new Xbox Live update that includes Internet Explorer. My goal was to try out some of our HTML5 Canvas game experiments to see is they work on the new I.E for the Xbox. To my surprise, they work fairly well. Both 1945 Demo and Atari 2600 Match 3 work with the game pad (the mouse maps well to the analog stick) and include nearly all the sound FX (no mean feat for an HTML5 game).
The main issues seem to be the is the size/scale of the games, and mapping the cursor to stay inside the game area. I spent no time trying to update the games to work inside the 360 I.E. browser, but I'm certain it will not take very long to optimize them for the platform.
Obviously, the games are just demos and need work, but you can see that there might be a bright future for browser-based games on the Xbox...at least in HTML5. The Flash games I tried did not work, and it looks like the player cannot be installed. So much for playing Home Computer Wars on the Xbox. I guess I need to make a version in HTML5.
Another day, and another encouraging sign of things getting back on track.
Ace The Super Villain , One of our best and longest running readers has just finished a new game named "FireArm", an impressive beat-em-up style game in Flash. You Can see it below.
This is how Ace described the project:
"FireArm honors the great tradition of beat 'em up games with hard-as-heck enemies and zany combat, plus its own modern twists. If you're in the mood to beat the crap out of things, give it a go. "
We were just sent a link to this from our friends over at Sokay.net (Chris Rock and Bryson Whiteman)! Rush Hour Plus is a classic, pixelated shooter with power-ups and insane blasting action. The game made me happy today, which is no mean feat. Click below to play:
One of our super-brilliant readers, "AndyGoesToHollywood", sent over link to Dulldudegames because he wanted us to take a look at Iain Lobb's simply brilliant game design tool. I am very impressed, especially with the platformer widget. I don't think there is any way to have it show you the code it is using (which would make is ultimately useful), but as a sandbox is it pretty cool.
After playing with it for a few minutes I took a look around and starting playing the other games on the site. There are 16 games available, some of which I had already played and knew were brilliant (Stacker and Super Stacker for example). Some I had never seen before:
Pop Pirates: I assume the Iain that coded this is Iain Lobb, but anyway it is a very polished, fun "fly up the screen an blast the f*** out of everything" game. It includes bouncy music and has that retro atmosphere that makes me feel like I'm at home sitting in front of my Atari ST avoiding class and waiting for summer to start.
Don't Look Back: This is a unique adventure / platform title. It shares elements with quite a few classic games (Pitfall, Hero, Raiders of the Lost Ark etc) but is brilliant in its own way. Each screen presents a challenge to find your way to the exit. There are guns to pick up, enemy/obstacles to blast, jump over, climb over, and more. The style is similar to the Atari 2600 or other very early 8-bit systems.
Hanna in a Choppa: A strange and awesome jaunty little game where you must fly a helicopter trough tunnels and solve little dexterity puzzles with the controls. It is very stylistic and quite s fun time.
There are many other games on the site to check out. I am not sure if they are all done by the same group of people (Iain and his friends) or if some are from other developers. Any case this site has an excellent selection of unique titles to play and learn from.
(8bitjeff is Jeff D. Fulton)
Again I find myself with a few minutes between asset delivery and code re-writes and instead of doing something practical like working on Solar Fortress or Lunch Battle (or any of the 100 other games I have started and not finished), I am playing other people's games.
Here are a few first impression micro reviews of retro styled games I found on the Flash Game Distribution emails from the last week:
Weave: This is a simple looking, but fun little Qix style game. Nothing fancy, but Qix is one of my favorite all-time Arcade games.
Crazy Fighter: This is a side scrolling military blaster. Everything look great with lots of explosions and it is optimized well. I couldn't figure out who was good and who was bad, but it will be fun to play it again and find out.
Space Annihilation: This my CURRENT FAVORITE GAME!!! It is a very nicely crafted top-down scrolling shooter similar to Xenon II Megablast. It doesn't try to do too much, but what it does do it does PERFECTLY! It is exactly like I am playing an a Late 80's Atari ST game.
Pixel Arcade: Duh! I we have been talking about making this exact game for a year now. This is a selection of very simple white pixel on a black background games. They look like early Vic 20 or Ti-99 games. There are basic shooters, breakout, snakes games and more all perfectly done in a retro style. Note: This was done in Multimedia Fusion and then saved out with a Flash wrapper (not that it matters).
Retro Car Racing: This is an impressive looking re-make of a hand-held style 70's racing game. It is so damn retro and packed with large B/W pixel greatness.
Doomrunner FX: A retro-style (in game play) single screen area shooter (Asteroids / Robotron) with a more modern polish. Very well done.
Madness - Funhouse: A well done "Contra / Castlevania" style plaformer/shooter. Lots of blood, etc if you are into that sort of thing.
Duckstazy: I'm not sure what you do in this one, but it is a unique little game where you need to keep a duck in the air by jumping ans collecting item. I need more time with it, but so far it is a pleasant little game experience.
(8bitjeff is Jeff D. Fulton)
Ahh, here I am, its a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Southern California, and I am in doors, playing YOUR games. God I hope they are good this time...
Hikouki Tomodachi (FGD) (82% Retrotastic) - A very fun, and well done 1 or 2 player vertical scrolling blast-fest.
Darts and Beer (FGD) (75% Retrotastic) - Just as the title states. Play a pretty decent version of Flash darts and chug some beer (virtual) between each round. The more you drink the more difficult the game becomes.
Megapolis Traffic (FGD) (79% Retrotastic) - I love the look of this game. The object is to navigate public transportation to get to your desired end point. A novel concept. There are some interesting game design ideas in this one.
Protect The Treasure (FGD) (70% Retrotastic) - A simple, but pretty well presented shooter. You must protect your treasure from the attacking horde of zombie-like creatures.
Britney Spears (FGD) (10% Retrotatsic) - This dress-up game is notable only for how little the avatar looks like Britney Spears. It gets 10% because they did a good job looping the music sample. Let's note that I don't despise these games and understand they have and audience and hopefully make some money for the developers. This is not a good one though.
Santa Pod Racer (FGD) (80% Retrotastic) - Now, this is a well done little "Dragster" style game. It reminds me of the Atari 2600 classic.
Gunzy (FGD) (80% Retrotastic) - Another fun little game. You keep the can in the air while earning badges and shooting other little critters that make an appearance. It really is a cool little time waster.
Zombie Beast Stampede (FGD) (83% Retrotastic) - A deep and fun little "Tower" not "Path" defense style game combined with an arcade shooter.
E7 (FGD) (90% Retrotastic) - A cinematic masterpiece hiding in a very well crafted physics-based side-scrolling adventure.
I find it easier to get into my day if I play a few games first. Digging through the Mochi Latest and Flash Game Distribution feed, here are some games that were good or bad enough for me to want to take a second look (at some ethereal unspecified future date).
Deep Diver (FGD) (83% Retrotastic) - A well made arcade / exploration game with mellow music (I was almost lulled to sleep by the long intro and the music, but it is a great game for kids)
Crazy Race Arena 2 (FGD) (85% Retrotastic) - An ambitious (if slightly flawed) first person 3D "smash-em-up derby game". This took some technical wizardry.
Cork Blaster (Mochi) (65% Retrotastic) - This isn't a deep game, you simply try to shoot the corks off the tops of bottles, but if you miss and shoot the bottles it makes a satisfying explosion. That's enough to get me excited this morning.
Zombie Miner (Mochi) (80 % Retrotastic) - Well made, fun little mining game (shoot to grab treasure from the top of the screen style) with a Zombie(?) theme.
Paint Man (Mochi) (65% Retrotastic) - Better than it looks 8-bit (or even 4-bit) style game. It's hard to explain, so watch the tutorial.
Cavity Crusade (Mochi) (88% Retrotastic) - I was getting bored and ready to stop reviewing games, but then this gem came along. Shoot the baddies and save the teeth.
Space Mission (Mochi) (75% Retrotastic) - There are both English and Spanish versions of this little arena / avoider game. Not incredible, but it was fun for a few plays a little unique.
Soviet Conquest (Mochi) (75% Retrotastic) - Hmm, I don't know about this one, but I would try it out again. You don't find too many traditional war games on Mochi. if I have time I will come back...
Oil Spill Escape - (Mochi) (82% Retrotastic) - Very well crafted little side-scroller where you avoid the gulf oil spill.
It would be easy to just go to the Mochi featured game list and hit those as they have been pre-screened for me. No can do, bud. That would leave out the wonderful world of games that don't get much attention (most deservedly so). Today I will be going through some more of the FGD feed and the Mochi Latest Games list to discover games that I would actually play again (if I had the time to play games). Each of these is special in its own way (good or bad). If you would like me to take a look at your game, send me and email to info[at]8bitrocket[dot]com.
All games get a score from 0-100 on the Retrotastic scale (a first impression of game's overall quality biased by my completely biased likes and dislikes). A game doesn't have to be retro in any way to get on this scale, but it helps because I will play it longer.
Anti Invasion Fighter - (FGD) Arcade blaster (82% Retrotastic) - A fun, well made game.
Blockies Breakout (FGD) - Awesome Breakout/Arknoid game (88% Retrotastic). It doesn't hurt that I am a HUGE Dave Munsie fan, but that aside this is a wonderfully crafted game.
Royal Envoy - (Mochi) - (No Score). It's not that games like this are not well crafted and professionally made...it's that they ARE! This is a demo of a a pay to buy game and it shows. I don't plan on reviewing too many games like this, but I fully support what they are doing. The production values and scope of this strategy / kingdom style game are well above what an individual indie can produce. That being said, it is a wonderfully made game. I don't have time to give it the due it needs, but you certainly should. These are the types of games (if purchased by players) that will keep the indie game business going strong.
Deadly Road Battle - (Mochi) - Classic top-down scrolling shooter with 360 shooting action. (80% Retrotsatic). Fun, but not deep. Good for a fun basting time.
Sub-zero condition - (Mochi) - 8-bit looking adventure / zombie shooter. (83% Retrotastic). I can't honestly give this one a score yet as it looks awesomely fun but I need more time with it.
Miranda Kerr Dress-up (Mochi) (75% Retrotastic) - As dress-up games go, this one is not technically too shabby (clothes stick to the correct spots, etc). Plus, it has a surprisingly accurate depiction of the Victoria Secret cutie to dress-up. Yes, there probably are some issues with IP here. Would I play it again? Probably not, but it shouldn't stop you from trying it. Also, I can't completely ignore a genre like this.
Shoot Down (Mochi) (75% Retrotastic) - An interesting take on breakout / Arknoid. It has some issues but the kernel of a great game is in here. It needs polish to become a big hit.
That's all the time I have for today, but there are mountains of games to look through. Send me a link to yours so I don't have to find it in the pile...
Using the last few days of the Flash Game Distribution feed, here are a list of games that I played quickly and were interesting enough for me to want to play again. I have given each a quickie grade based on my first impression. Take the grades with a grain of salt. Also, I give every game a "retrotastic" grade even it it is not retro in any way. (TJTWIR).
The Little Bee (80% Retrotastic) - Classic Shooter
Bob the Thief (81% Retrotastic) - Puzzle/Arcade
Street Speed (88% retrotastic) - Awesome 2D Racser
Boozoids (85% Retrotasic) - Platformer
Escape The Noddy (No grade, just check it out, it will give you nightmares).
Space Invader Classic (70% Retrotastic) - Retro Shooter
Callow Drift (83% Retrotastic) - Jaunty platformer
The Super Zero (80% Retrotastic) - Side scrolling blaster
Jump ++ (78% Retrotastic) - It would get a higher score if I could figure it out. Nicely made arcade game though.
Save The Birds (80% Retrotastic) - Cute physics based puzzler
Potboy's Adventure (81% Retrotastic) - Surprising fun if crudely drawn platformer.
Bieber Bottle Bash (No score) - Simple game, but boy does this little dude deserve whatever he gets.