Archive for March, 2012

Real-life Prince of Persia

March 8th, 2012 1:38 PM
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Filed under Musings, People;
2 comments.

When Jordan Mechner developed Karateka in 1984, audiences were astounded by the fluidity and realism of his rotoscoped graphics — a technique more effectively executed five years later when applied to Prince of Persia. With the upcoming remake of Karateka, I'm left wondering just how much more realistic Mechner's work can become. Will he go for a classic, retro look; something more modern; or a blend of new and old? Comedy troupe Karahat proposes the latter with their comedy sketch, Real Prince of Persia:

This fun skit employs the cutting edge of 1984 technology, such as cardboard and rubber bands. But I'm hoping the woman in this skit was expecting to be accosted and was not an unwilling participant. The potential of invisible theater to discomfort its unwilling participants is exactly what makes me so uncomfortable about watching many of Mega64's videos.

Oh, and still wondering the correct way to pronounce "Karateka"? Don't look for answers in Open Apple #13, in which each guest and host has his own idea about how to say the game's name. Listen instead to 1:11 into Jordan Mechner's interview with G4 / X-Play:

(Hat tip to — who else? — Jordan Mechner)

Applesoft Action & Dogfighters of Mars

March 5th, 2012 3:18 PM
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Filed under Game trail, Software showcase;
6 comments.

Brian Picchi, whose excellent software and hardware videos have graced YouTube, has recently taken a more hands-on approach to the Apple II gaming scene. In addition to commenting on other people's games, he's begun creating his own. The first two entries into his growing portfolio are both Applesoft BASIC games: Applesoft Action and Dogfighters of Mars.

Both titles are action games, which can be significantly harder to program than other genres. Whereas turn-based puzzle and strategy games can take their time accepting input and displaying the result, an action game is a far more immediate experience, as gameplay progresses with or without player interaction. Although I'm proud of my one Apple II game — an Applesoft adaptation of the text-based BBS door game Spaceship of Death — and I did successfully create a few action games for my graphing calculator, I doubt either experience gave me the knowledge, skills, or confidence to create anything like what Picchi has. Well done, sir!

The Jason Scott Adventure

March 1st, 2012 10:34 AM
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Filed under Game trail, People, Software showcase;
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In July 2010, Jason Scott interviewed Christine Love, creator of Digital: A Love Story. This game, available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, emulates meeting people via a dial-up BBS, an experience that predates Love; she used Scott's textfiles.com as a reference by which she recreated this digital environment. I'm sure Scott was honored that his work proved the foundation for a game.

Now he's gotten even closer to that medium by being the direct inspiration for The Jason Scott Adventure. Dezro created this game for Pirate Kart V: The 2012-in-One Glorious Developers Conference, a game-making competition funded by Kickstarter and occurring in conjunction with next month's Game Developers Conference, of which Jason Scott is the digital historian. Pirate Kart V ran February 25–27 and included this… interesting production. With 256-color graphics and two modes of gameplay, The Jason Scott Adventure takes only a few minutes to play and has low replay value — yet it's a bizarrely awesome experience that succinctly encapsulates what it means to be Jason Scott as he fights the evil Yahoo!

The Jason Scott Adventure

To run The Jason Scott Adventure on my Mac, I opened Terminal, navigated to the game's folder, and typed ./JasonScottAdventure.sh

Be forewarned: this game includes photos of many cute kittens but also less welcome images. The resolution is such that you're unlikely to be scarred, but try not to look too closely.

(Hat tip to — who else? — Jason Scott)