Goddamn, do these photos bring back memories! I mean, this is exactly what it looked like in the ‘70s and ‘80s hanging out at arcades. I never really played the games back then as I wasn’t very good at them, but I did hang out with friends who did. I guess you could say I was an “arcade lurker.” This is all there was to do back then. This or going to “the mall.” Then again many arcades were in malls, weren’t they?
Anyway, Growing Up In Arcades is a delightful Flickr pool dedicated to all the arcades “that consumed much of our time and quarters back in the 80s.” The Flickr page is always “looking for scans of vintage games in the wild. So if you have old arcade or Chuck E Cheese birthday pics, dig ‘em up! They belong here.”
We’ve blogged about this wicked-cool board game—loosely based off of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream—by artist Alyx Baldwin back in 2009, but I see it’s making the rounds again. Plus I think it’s time to give this game another go-round because it deserves the attention. Just look at how much thought and consideration was put into this board game!
Californium is a game produced by Darjeeling and Nova Production, and published by ARTE, the Strasbourg-based French-German TV channel dedicated to the arts. It seems exceedingly likely that this game will prove to be the most sustained tribute to the works of Philip K. Dick in the video game idiom.
Both movies and video games have proven fertile settings for Dick’s apocalyptic visions, even if the path from book to final product has often been treacherous. From Blade Runner and Total Recall to The Adjustment Bureau, there seems to be no Dick work that can’t have its title changed on the way to becoming a major motion picture (okay, okay, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly kept their original names, anyway). As for video games, John Saavedra argues that Eidos, makers of Deus Ex, might just be “Phillip K Dick’s greatest students.”
The tagline for the game is “Explore the worlds of Californium, a first person exploration game where you are a writer trapped into shifting realities. Will you find what’s behind the simulacra?” which puts us squarely in that familiar PKD “Got-here-30-years-before-The-Matrix” world in which every innocuous American surface is but cloak for a more terrifying reality.
For the position of as art director, the developers have chosen Olivier Bonhomme to help create the distinctive feel of a Philip K. Dick book.
Here’s the “synopsis” for the game:
Berkeley, 1967. You are Elvin Green, a writer whose career is not better than his sentimental life. Besides, the day starts badly : your wife Thea left you a break up letter. As for Eddy, your editor, he summons you : “you are a writer who does not write”—you should find yourself another editor. Your world is falling apart. Too much acid and cheap booze ? Too many sleepless nights stuck to your typewriter, powerless to tackle your first novel ? Your brain perceives a signal, the Theta—which seems connected to your collapsing emotional state—shows that there could be a way out: this world is unstable, you can extract yourself from it and thus access another reality! You have nothing to lose!
Californium is expected to be available for the PC in a few months.
Here’s a teaser video for the game followed by several mouth-watering screenshots:
The purple and teal Jason Voorhees Nintendo game figure that was introduced at the 2013 Dan Diego Comic-Con resurrected a great deal of interest in the 1989 Friday the 13th NES video game—considered by many to be one of the worst video games of all time.
The notoriously stupid, extremely difficult game has achieved a kind of fandom for being so utterly terrible and is held in the same sort of esteem that Atari’s infamous E.T. game is among vintage game aficionados. The fact that the Friday the 13th film franchise has so many die-hard fans insures its popularity, even if 8 bit purple Jason and his mother’s floating severed head aren’t exactly terrifying. And let’s not forget about that classic bum-out end screen:
The fans at YouTube channel Maga64 have created a faux trailer for an imagined movie version of the video game (complete with old-school VHS tracking adjustment issues) and they totally nail every inexplicable aspect of the gameplay (right down to the cleaver that looks like a toothbrush). If you are a fan of the movie series or the video game, this may very well be the funniest thing you see all day.
2015 marks twenty-five years since the debut of both Twin Peaks and the Super NES game console, and evidently, both of those things have some devoted fans at a creative agency called Beutler Ink. In celebration, they’ve produced a Twin Peaks town map in the 8-bit graphics style of Super Mario Bros., which turns thirty this year. Feel old?
Giclée prints in various sizes and the usual array of print-on-demand apparel are available from Society 6. Here’s the whole map. Clicking spawns a readable enlargement.
For the video game design competition Duplicade, which I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Fire Dance with Me, an enjoyable video game about Twin Peaks, Aaron Meyers came up with an infectious game called Michael E Michael, in which Michael Jackson has a Tekken-style dance-off against Michael Jackson. As I noted yesterday, the game “must tread dangerously into the intellectual property of an existing game or game franchise, but be cleverly altered and culturally mangled enough to not be worth the effort to sue,” which Michael E Michael clearly does.
The rules of Duplicade require games to be head-to-head games in which the WASD and arrow keys control movement for Player A and Player B, and also that the game declare a winner within the first 30 seconds. In the game, the two players control identical versions of The Gloved One from the video “Smooth Criminal” while that selfsame infectious song pulsates away.
Using various moves you can kick your opponent, execute a spin (which spawns a bunch of tiny Michaels to scatter away from the main avatar), and so forth until the loser is identified and the winning Jackson (of course) transforms into an awesome jet and flies away.
The original “Smooth Criminal” video after the jump…
Video game designer Robert Yang has has quite the homoerotic resume. He developed Cobra Club, the game where you try to alter a dick pic to optimum beauty, and Stick Shift, a game where you pleasure your gay car. There’s the (consensual) spanking game, Hurt Me Plenty, and Succulent, where you watch a man fellate an popsicle. Rinse and Repeat is Yang’s latest, and it’s surprisingly subtle on the homoeroticism (relatively speaking). The object? Wash a man’s back in the gym shower. That’s it. Just a super-gay locker room fantasy with a healthy dose of camp, and not half-bad graphics, either!
Was he in your Tactical Zumba class, or was it Blood Pilates? Usually you wouldn’t risk a shower right after class, they already talk enough shit about you, but the other day—a cough then a smirk and then a knowing glance, that’s all it ever takes until you start hoping against hope.
Don’t fuck it up. Show up when he’ll show up, right after class. Set multiple alarms on your phone, mark your calendar, clear your schedule. What is this terror? What is this ecstasy? What is it that fills you with this extraordinary excitement?... Boy, it’s the promise of a workout.
The whole thing is really funny and cheeky (get it?), right down to the aviator sunglasses your bathing buddy leaves on during his shower. You can download Rinse and Repeat here (for free!) and watch a preview below. All dicks are pixelated, but do I really need to tell you that it’s NSFW?
Guiding spirit of black metal Varg Vikernes spent 15 years in a Norwegian prison cell for the crime of murdering his fellow black metal practitioner Øystein Aarseth (a.k.a. Euronymous) in August 1993. It is also alleged that he was involved in the burning of at least three churches, although Vikernes denies this. Charmingly enough, on the cover of the EP Aske, released in 1992 by Vikernes’ one-man music project Burzum is a black-and-white picture of one of the churches he is alleged to have torched (the title is also the Norwegian word for “ashes”). (Anyone wishing to learn more about the whole bloody mess is encouraged to check out Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind’s Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground.)
Vikernes was released on parole in 2009 and currently resides in France, where, according to Wikipedia, Vikernes “promotes a neo-völkisch ideology (Odalism) based on the idea that White Europeans should re-adopt native European values, including elements of traditional paganism.” He has also released a RPG similar to Dungeons & Dragons called Myfarog that espouses explicitly white supremacist beliefs.
The name Myfarog is a kind of acronym, standing for “MYthic FAntasy ROle-playing Game.” Intrepid reporter Jeff Treppel at Metal Sucks went and acquired a copy of the game (it’s a book, really) and wrote up an incisive account of why it’s a terrible game and also, far more important, why it’s a really racist game. As Treppel writes: “Look, I’m not stupid. ... You want to know just how racist this RPG is. Well, spoiler: it’s really fucking racist.” The game is designed to propagate Vikernes’ white supremacist beliefs, and it does that with no noticeable subtlety.
Here’s Treppel’s summary of the racial schema used in Myfarog:
There are a wide variety of races available for the player to choose from, as long as that race is Scandinavian. The lighter the hair and the fairer the skin, the more blessed by the gods your character is. And, of course, the higher born the better. Nobles are naturally superior to the peasantry in this world. It’s the natural order of things.
Treppel also includes an image from the book, a full page describing the groups that correlate to Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Myfarog schema, which is so disgusting that Treppel declines to summarize the contents. Suffice it to say that
People of Middle Eastern and African descent are represented. They are the “filthy”, “vulgar”, “poorly educated”, “animalistic” Koparmenn (“Copper Men”). You can’t play them; they are intended to be cannon fodder. There are two varieties of Copper Men: the Skrælingr (“Weaklings”) and the Myrklingr (“Darklings”). I’m pretty sure that the Weaklings are supposed to be Semitic people, as they receive a bonus to trickery. The Darklings, meanwhile, receive a bonus to spear throwing. You can guess who they’re supposed to represent.
As Treppel points out, this summary of the “motivations for adventure” concludes with a description of a campaign in which you must defend a realm from “savage and subhuman Koparmenn and untrustworthy Eirmenn” that is indistinguishable from ethnic cleansing:
As mentioned, the game is apparently so convoluted that it’s well-nigh unplayable, so it’s just too bad if you happen to be a big fan of Nazi ideologies!
Here’s a commercial for the game from last October:
After the jump, Vikernes discusses the relationship between a survivalist worldview and RPGs…
The 1990 video game Pesterminator: The Western Exterminator is not as Burroughsian as one could hope. In fact, it’s not Burroughsian at all; it’s a disappointment in every way. The box promises nine infernal levels, the perfect number for a Dantesque descent into a rat-infested hell, but in fact the game only contains eight, one of which is the moon. Yes, the moon, from which Ronnie the Super Rat is “radiating the Earth with his powerful PEST BEAM,” causing our planet’s rats and bugs to rise up and demand what’s theirs. Do you really want to interfere with Ronnie’s project? I, for one, incline to the view that these noble species deserve their turn at the top of the food chain.
The hero of Pesterminator is the Western Exterminator mascot, the stern-looking, long-nosed person with the top hat and the hammer who overlooks L.A.‘s Hollywood Freeway and is variously known as Kernel Kleenup, Inspector Holmes, Mr. Little and the Little Man. Though he’s probably best known in the states where Western Exterminator has offices (California, Nevada, Arizona), I once saw a Kernel Kleenup figurine in a Philadelphia warehouse, and Van Halen fans will recognize his image from 1984 tour merch.
The game was produced by Color Dreams, a notorious manufacturer of unlicensed cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System whose subsidiary Wisdom Tree later produced many of your favorite Bible-themed video games. As an irate video game reviewer says on YouTube:
Games like Pesterminator are so horrible that they make you wonder why they were ever made at all. Who in their right mind would want to waste their time on such a futile endeavor? Color Dreams made it? Huh—well, that explains everything. They always seem to waste everybody’s time making shit, but this game is really dreadful, even for them.
“ANOTHER FINE AMERICAN MADE GAME,” the copy on the box boasts:
When you’re bugged by nasty pests, it’s time to call Kernel Kleanup [sic], the familiar character from Western Exterminator. Ronnie, the super rat, and his friends are pushing for a hostile takeover and their territories cover Houses, Office Buildings, Warehouses, Hotels, Swamps, and even the Moon. Watch out bugs, PESTERMINATOR has a big surprise waiting for you!
In the early days of the home video game console, one of the fun things that used to happen was this: you would visit your schoolmate at his mom’s condo and he would spend an hour or two “showing you how to play” his favorite games, after which it would be time for you to move on to a different activity or go home. Today, you can relive those precious moments by watching someone else play Pesterminator below. Let’s hope Ronnie and his army of plague-carriers annihilate the human race this time!