Little Inferno for Apples old and new

May 6th, 2013 11:56 AM
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One of the best Nintendo Wii games was an indie title called World of Goo. The 2009 release marked the first (and, so far, only) game from developer 2D Boy, who then went on to port it to Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, including as part of the Humble Indie Bundle — but the game was best in its original home on the Nintendo Wii.

Now Kyle Gabler, one of the leading forces behind 2D Boy, has released his first Nintendo Wii U game: Little Inferno. Unlike World of Goo, which received a 94% average rating (making it one of the best Wii games ever), Little Inferno has received only a 79% and described as more of a fireplace simulator that requires repetitive actions than an actual game.

Just as strange as the evolution from World of Goo to Little Inferno is the way in which the latter's developer and publisher, Tomorrow Corporation, announced the game's port to OS X. Five months after its Wii U debut, this image appeared on the game's Web site:

Little Inferno

This is not the Apple you're looking for.


That, dear reader, is most certainly NOT a Mac. It's an amusing image, but a perplexing one. What is Tomorrow Corporation trying to say about this port? That they find the Mac an archaic platform? That Little Inferno can run on anything? If so, it's a bit of an exaggeration — it's not like they actually ported a modern game to the Commodore 64 of anything.

Of the twenty comments on the blog post, only one, the first, acknowledges the discrepancy: "Hahaha, awesome. Of course you guys have a pic of it 'running' on an Apple II. You never fail to make me laugh. Kudos!"

If there's one thing I learned from World of Goo, it's that 2D Boy and Tomorrow Corporation certainly have a strange sense of humor.

(Hat tip to Mike Schramm via Steve Weyhrich)

From the Wii U to KansasFest

February 18th, 2013 12:54 PM
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I am not an artist — at least, not in the sense of having skill at design, drawing, or painting. I can write elegantly, exhibit comic timing in a British farce, even sing a tune or two. But being able to draw something that is immediately recognizable is a skill I have not yet acquired.

I thus have difficulty expressing myself on the Wii U. Nintendo's latest video game system combines traditional and tablet gaming by using a controller that features a touch screen. Gamers can use the included stylus to draw black-and-white art that is then shared with other denizens of the "Miiverse". Nintendo must approve every drawing, ensuring a family-friendly art exhibit.

I've compiled slideshows of hundreds of amazing sketches that baffle me in their complexity; I am astounded at how much these players can do given so little. But until recently, none of the artwork that impressed me was meant just for me.

That was until Wii U inhabitant OverNiven sent me this message:

KFest-bound

As stunning as the art is that I've seen on the Wii U, none has made me happier than this confident expression: an old friend who hasn't been in KansasFest in years, if not decades, will finally return.

Wii U response

See you at KansasFest 2013!

Karateka sequel's unknown genre

September 17th, 2012 1:26 PM
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In February, I shared the news that Jordan Mechner's original Apple II game, Karateka, is being relaunched. But as discussed in the September episode of Open Apple, the direction this reimagining is taking could leave traditionalists perplexed.

When an iOS port of the new Karateka was confirmed, Touch Arcade reported this summary of the game:

In this rhythm-fighting game, players assume the role of three Japanese warriors attempting to rescue a kidnapped princess from an evil warlord. Players engage in frenetic one-on-one battles with various enemies, using timed martial arts moves (i.e., punch/kick combos) to stun opponents and drain their health meters. Matches are highlighted by battle cries, colorful light flashes, and slow motion effects; when players' character is knocked out, a brief cutscene depicts him falling down the side of a mountain.

A rhythm game? One in which players time their input to match the game's soundtrack — like PaRappa the Rapper?

At the time of PaRappa's release for the original Sony PlayStation in 1997, I gave it a score of 8.0 out of 10 — not terribly compelling in today's competitive video game market. But PaRappa has stood the test of time better than I expected, and most gamers who knew this quirky little title look back on it fondly. It's often considered the first modern rhythm game, a genre that grown in popularity thanks to titles such as Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and Elite Beat Agents.

So yes, rhythm games can be fun — but I'm having a hard time envisioning the hero's ascent of Akuma's fortress to rescue Princess Mariko as a music-based game. What sparse soundtrack the original Karateka featured was not central to the gameplay experience, so to introduce a core mechanic absent in the series origin strains the continuity of the franchise.

It's also possible that Touch Arcade was fed inaccurate infomration. We'll find out when the game is released for Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, and other platforms later this year.