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‘Arcade Attack’: It’s pinball vs. video games in AWESOMELY WEIRD 1982 animated sci-fi short
08.21.2017
08:47 am
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Arcade Attack
 
Arcade Attack: Silverball Heroes verses Video Invaders is a very strange short film. Part documentary, part animated sci-fi fantasy, this mini-movie also shines a light on technological obsolescence. Arcade Attack is entertaining, odd, and surprisingly thought-provoking, complete with a totally awesome synth score. It’s a little gem of a picture.

Arcade Attack is a UK production from 1982. It aired on HBO back in the day, acting as filler during the downtime between full-length movies. The short has a couple of connections to punk rock: It was produced and directed by Mike Wallington, who co-directed Dressing For Pleasure, a 1977 documentary on British folks with a rubber fetish (we told you about it), which greatly influenced punk fashion; the Arcade Attack animators, Phil Austin and Derek W. Hayes, worked on the animated sequences for the Sex Pistols movie, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle

Arcade Attack is strange from the get-go, with an unsettling opening that features a laughing mechanical dummy amongst a collection of old-timey games in an empty arcade on a lonely pier. This is followed by the peculiarly animated (but also super-cool) sci-fi title sequence, before settling into a standard documentary format—or so it seems. A pinball vs. video games narrative develops, with whizzes on both sides showing off their skills and talking about why one form of gaming is better than the other, but something just feels a bit off. Two-thirds of the way through, it shifts gears again for an animated showdown that really needs to be seen to be believed. It’s better first-time viewers don’t know much more about Arcade Attack—and I’m not going to be the one that spoils it for you.

We’ll leave you with an impressed IMDb user:

I was totally flabbergasted and so was the friend who showed me the documentary, who was under the impression it was a timepiece documentary on arcade games. But it was so much more. It turned into an unbelievable trip. Go watch it…NOW.

 
And you can do just that, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
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08.21.2017
08:47 am
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I was a 15-year-old Billy Corgan impersonator
12.14.2016
02:53 pm
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Before the “World Wide Web” became a thing and only AOL and CompuServe existed for games and chat rooms, Sierra On-line (the software company responsible for such classic adventure games as King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry) developed a highly imaginative and groundbreaking environment known as The ImagiNation Network. Initially launched on May 6th, 1991 as “The Sierra Network,” this friendly, graphics-heavy interface was so simple, advertising promised that even your grandmother would find it easy to “play games, make friends and have fun.” As a teenage computer geek I was instantly hooked after being introduced by my friend Brad Warner and spent hundreds of hours using the service: running up my parents credit card bill, holding up my families landline for several hours at a time, and experimenting with fake profiles when the internet was so new that you could effortlessly fool just about anybody.
 
Before entering ImagiNation you’d use the FaceMaker to create your appearance choosing your skin color, facial features, glasses, clothes, and hairstyle. There were enough variables built in to create over 84 million unique personas. Then you’d walk through the virtual gates and let the fun begin: Red Baron, Mini Golf, Paintball, or Boogers in SierraLand. Gambling at the casino and exchanging lewd late night talk in LarryLand (for adults only), or slaying dragons with strangers in MedievaLand. Before anybody had heard of an email address there was a post office where you could purchase “Sierra Stamps” and send messages to other users.

Through a alternative music chatroom, I befriended a cool 13-year-old Korean girl from Houston named Judy Suh who had purple hair and owned an electric guitar. We both had tickets to see the Smashing Pumpkins headline Lollapalooza ‘94 in our respective cities that summer and agreed to share our photos from the concert. Technology had yet to find a way to share photos on the internet so we made photocopies at Kinko’s and snail mailed them to each other.
 

 
In 1995 Judy suddenly disappeared from the ImagiNation Network without a trace, a few weeks later I found out that her parents banned her from using the service after running up their credit card bill. At that time the pricing structure was incredibly expensive: $9.95 per month for only 4 hours plus $3.50 for each additional hour, or $120 a month for unlimited time. Shortly after that my parents also banned me from the service because I was using their dial-up modem and holding up our six person household landline. Friends and family members complained that they received a busy signal over and over for hours and were furious when they couldn’t get through.
 
Heartbroken, and not yet ready to give up my addiction I took to desperate measures to get back on-line. I went over to Brad Warner’s house with a floppy disc, found the directory where his password file was stored and successfully copied it into the same directory on my computer enabling me to sign onto ImagiNation with Brad’s account. This illegal and back-stabbing act gave me so much confidence that soon I wanted to know what else I could get away with. I began secretly signing on late at night after my parents went to bed. Using the FaceMaker to create a new persona, I started posing as Smashing Pumpkins frontman, Billy Corgan. I had read every Alternative Press, SPIN, and Melody Maker interview that had been published up until that point and felt strongly that I knew enough about Billy Corgan that I could convince people that I was him. The April 1994 Rolling Stone cover story I purchased at Sam Goody proved to be a particularly detailed profile and helped me understand Billy’s troubled childhood and upbringing in a time before background information on celebrities was easily accessible on websites like Wikipedia. I was successful in fooling dozens of fans: answering questions from growing up in Glendale Heights, Illinois, to D’arcy Wretzky’s sisters photography on Smashing Pumpkins single covers, to dispelling rumors that I played the little brother on the TV show Small Wonder. After about a week I was called out for falsely claiming that the Mike Mills who played piano on the song “Soma” off the album Siamese Dream was not the same guy as the bassist from R.E.M. My cover was blown.
 

 
Soon after I was outed as an imposter by the ImagiNation community I received a call from Brad who wanted to know why there was a message from Chris Williams in his virtual Post Office box. I had forgotten that I reached out to Sierra On-Line founders Ken & Roberta Williams’ son Chris (also 15-years-old) on the network, totally not expecting him to reply. I confessed to Brad that I had stolen his password and I had been signing on under his account. That was the end of our friendship and the last time I ever used the service. In 1996 ImagiNation was purchased and then ultimately shut down forever by America Online. In 2007 there was a brief attempt to revive ImagiNation through reverse engineering and use of DOSBox, but there wasn’t enough interest in the emulator for it to take off. One fan on the “Return of Talking Time” message board, however, fondly remembered his experience on ImagiNation over 20 years later:
 

“I had a ridiculous experience with ImagiNation Network when I was 14. I was spending the night at my friend’s house, and I brought the free ImagiNation install disk with me. After his parents went to bed, we got his mom’s credit card from her purse and used it to create an account. (IIRC, you were given a certain number of free hours to try it out, but you had to provide credit card info to get started). We tooled around for a bit, and eventually ended up in one of the chat areas. Somehow or another we started chatting with a guy who had us 100% convinced that he was Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. Seriously. We weren’t dumb kids, but holy crap does that sound profoundly moronic in hindsight. Anyhow, we stayed up all night talking to Billy C, and ended up surpassing our free trial. When the credit card bill came later that month, my friend had to fess up to his mom. She wasn’t buying the Billy Corgan story, and I was never allowed to spend the night at his house again.”

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Doug Jones
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12.14.2016
02:53 pm
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‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ wasn’t just a cheesy movie, it was also a goofy video game in the 90s
02.24.2016
10:18 am
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Back in 1992, someone over at the Japanese video game giant Konami decided that the world had waited long enough for a video game version of one of the cheesiest movies ever made, Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space.
 
A digitized scene from Plan 9 From Outer Space featured in the films 1992 video game by
Vampira (played by Finnish-born actress, Maila Nurmi), in a digitized scene from the ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’ video game
 
Tor Johnson in a digitized scene from Plan 9 From Outer Space found in the Plan 9 from Outer Space video game, 1992
Tor Johnson as seen in the 1992 video game
 
The point-and-click style game was released for Commodore’s Amiga personal computer and the Atari ST in both Europe and the US. Hard-to-find copies of the original game also came with a bonus—a VHS tape of Wood’s film inside. Like the film itself, gameplay was pretty tedious. As the player, you are a private investigator who must travel to locations in and around Los Angeles in search of missing film reels that were stolen by Bela Lugosi’s movie double. To spice things up a little, Konami used digitized footage (pictured above) from Plan 9 From Outer Space in their game design, which was actually pretty slick for the time (believe it or not, kids).
 
Screen shots from the Plan 9 From Outer Space video game by Konami, 1992
Screenshots from the “Plan 9 from Outer Space” video game by Konami, 1992
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.24.2016
10:18 am
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Michael Jackson battles Michael Jackson in this dance-off video game
09.30.2015
01:52 pm
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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…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.30.2015
01:52 pm
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Play the Twin Peaks video game, ‘Fire Dance with Me’
09.29.2015
10:41 am
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Yesterday we at the DM brain trust were saddened to hear of the passing of Catherine E. Coulson at the age of 71. Coulson was the actress who portrayed the Log Lady from Twin Peaks, surely one of the most unusual characters ever to reach a mass audience.

You can honor Coulson’s performance, David Lynch’s groundbreaking TV series, and your own innate need to boogie by playing Fire Dance With Me, a video game designed for the Duplicade video game competition that calls for head-to-head simultaneous two-player games. The rules require that the games be Windows-compatible, use the traditional WASD and arrow keys for movement, and have a short duration (30 seconds) before deciding a winner. Furthermore, and amusingly, “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.” The game is downloadable for Windows but you can play it in any desktop browser—I played it on a Mac. 
 

 
Fire Dance With Me pays homage to the various dancers that populate Lynch’s series. You can choose Special Agent Dale Cooper (holding a coffee mug, natch), the Little Man from Cooper’s hallucinatory dreams, Audrey Home, or the Log Lady’s log (which never moves at all). Once the two players are selected and the game begins, you have to track a scrolling promenade of arrow signs in order to win—the two player’s avatars flank the sad, desperate dance of Leland Palmer in the middle, whom you cannot select.

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.29.2015
10:41 am
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A new super-gay video game challenges you to wash a guy’s back in the gym showers
09.21.2015
10:44 am
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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!

Yang lays out the scenario on his site thusly:

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?
 

 
Via Kotaku

Posted by Amber Frost
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09.21.2015
10:44 am
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‘MANOS: The Hands of Fate’—the video game!
08.11.2015
01:53 pm
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Pop culture is so strange. Things catch on and end up in places that couldn’t have been foreseen at the time of creation or release. Think of Ed Wood’s career, gleefully cherished by film buffs, then turned into an object of derision in movies like It Came From Hollywood but THEN transformed into an occasion for authentic poignancy by Tim Burton.

Or consider MANOS: The Hands of Fate, a schlocky occult/horror movie from 1966 that hardly made any waves when it came out (it failed to recoup its $19,000 budget).
It was directed by Harold P. Warren, an insurance and fertilizer salesman from El Paso, Texas. He starred in it as well. It played only at the Capri Theater in El Paso and a few drive-ins in West Texas and New Mexico.
 

 
In the movie, a vacationing family loses their way on a road trip and ends up trapped at a lodge in which a polygamous pagan cult has taken up residence. It’s worth reading Wikipedia’s account of the movie’s demerits: “The film is infamous for its technical deficiencies, especially its significant editing and continuity flaws; its soundtrack and visuals not being synchronized; tedious pacing; abysmal acting; and several scenes that are seemingly inexplicable or disconnected from the overall plot, such as a couple making out in a car or The Master’s wives breaking out in catfights.”

In 1993 Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran an episode about MANOS, and it’s become one of their most popular episodes: On this vote taken on a MST3K message board, the episode in which the gang riffs on MANOS clocked in as the second-best MST3K episode of all time, behind only the deliriously funny Space Mutiny episode.

In 2012 FreakZone Games released a Nintendo-ish adaptation of the game—it’s in the familiar Mario Bros. style and uses set pieces from the movie. It’s not every schlocky horror movie that gets transformed into a video game FIFTY years later, but if you get lucky, even weird things like that can happen. This year saw the release of MANOS: The Hands of Fate—Director’s Cut, an improved version of the game with cut screens—you can buy it here.
 
Here’s some gameplay from the 2012 version:

 
The full movie of MANOS: The Hands of Fate:

 
And the MST3K treatment of MANOS:

 
via Kill Screen
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.11.2015
01:53 pm
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‘Social Justice Warriors’: Video game simulates arguing with assholes on the internet
03.23.2015
10:36 am
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When I first heard there was a video game called Social Justice Warriors which simulated Internet arguing, I (errantly) assumed that in the wake of the gamergate controversy, the title was invoking a pejorative use of “social justice.” Upon further investigation, I learned that the titular Social Justice Warriors are indeed the heroes in this turn-based RPG, battling “trolls” in a virtual simulation of every dumb Internet comment-thread ever.

The “warriors” in this crusade are based on standard medieval fantasy RPG heroes.  The game characters are described on the game’s Steam site:

Social Justice Paladins duel foes with 140 characters or less while shrugging off attacks with a press of the Block button, at least until their foes create new accounts.

Social Justice Clerics serve in the name of their patron sub-deity, taking solace in its comforting presence to heal and summoning its divine power to smite their enemies.

Social Justice Mages conjure powerful constructs of fact and opinion to alter minds and reality… while occasionally summoning an activist organization or hurling a scathing fireball of a blog post.

Social Justice Rogues fight fire with fire. Throw flurries of vitriolic character attacks, confuse enemies with smokescreens of alternate accounts, then delete your accounts and withdraw into the shadows of the net.

 

 
JJ Shepherd, a video game historian, developer, and gaming researcher at the University of South Carolina, hipped me to the game and clarified the play:

Briefly describe the gist of what happens in a game of Social Justice Warriors.

Shepherd: Once a warrior is chosen, the battle against waves of trolls begins. The resources you’re given are simple but highly indicative of what it takes to argue on social media. “Sanity” can be thought of as health and strength. It corresponds to how effective your arguments are and how angry you are. For instance, if your sanity is low and you are reaching a boiling point, then attacks are far less effective as they start lacking coherency.“Reputation” is an interesting resource system. If the player has a high enough reputation they will gain favor with other social justice warriors, and they will bandwagon, helping the player fight. It can also be used to launch personal attacks against the troll (at a price).

Using these resources the player can launch one of four different attacks each turn. A logic attack targets the troll’s sanity, but has a low chance of accuracy—so while your logic is sound the troll is probably going to ignore it. Then there is the personal attack, which goes for the troll’s reputation and has a high chance of accuracy. While this can be a powerful anger inducing attack, it takes away from your reputation. A mixed attack combines the best of logic and personal attack, and in so you prove your point while calling them stupid, but keeps your reputation intact. Finally the special attack depends on the warrior. For instance the cleric will heal its sanity by talking in their sub-forums “/r deity,” or the rogue will dig up a scandal to completely defame the troll. Whoever’s sanity or reputation is depleted first is the loser of the battle. If the player wins they go on to face more powerful trolls.

It sounds like the SJW tactics are not so much different from what the trolls get up to. Can the game be beat, or is this a Professor Falken style lesson of “the only way to win the game is not to play?”

Shepherd: I’d agree with that to a degree. It reveals many truths about arguing with people on the Internet. It never matters who’s right, and all that matters is feeling like you won a pissing contest with idiots. It’s interesting to note the trolls are applying the same tactics against you, which reveals in many ways social justice warriors are also trolls in their own right. I haven’t been able to beat it yet, but I believe that’s what they’re going for. As hard as you fight you keep having to go against more and more trolls until eventually you give up and walk away from your keyboard. Is it worth sacrificing sanity and your reputation trying to prove a point? I believe their stance is “no.”
 

 
If our assumptions are correct, this time-waster is a statement on time-wasting—but without all the hurt feelings and impotent death-threats.

If this sounds like an ideal waste of your time, and you want to try Social Justice Warriors first-hand, the game can be purchased for eight dollars on Steam

...Or just scroll down to our comments section, and get a face full of the real thing.

Posted by Christopher Bickel
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03.23.2015
10:36 am
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Uterus Man: The video game super-hero with all the powers of the womb!
11.14.2014
09:43 am
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Medically-minded tech artist Lu Yang has a proclivity for the less sentimental aspects of anatomy and biology. Her 2012 work, “Revived Zombie Frogs Underwater Ballet,” was a chorus line of little dissection specimens arranged in a tank, which Yang reanimated with electrodes and a MIDI controller for a little froggy choreography (the frogs were recycled from previous use—no animals were harmed in this corpse ballet). Yang also makes some disgustingly compelling 3-D printed jewelry modeled after cancer cells. Her most high-concept work however, is definitely Uterus Man, an animation and video game based on a male superhero who derives his power from the uterus. How did this concept emerge? Yang says:

I’ve always thought that the shape of the uterus looks like a human figure with arms stretched open and legs crossed. So when I designed Uterus Man, you can identify different parts of the uterus on different parts of his armor. From an ambiguous sexual view, this superhero with unusal powers may look like a man, but the source of his powers actually springs from the generative capability that belongs to a woman. This is an ironic design that sort of satirizes and questions the principle of biological reproduction in our world

Go onnnnnnn…

UterusMan can use various tricks to fight enemies. Some of these tricks are attributed to genetic and hereditary properties, such as changing the enemy into a weaker and lower-level evolutionary species, and then attacking. Or causing hereditary diseases or changing the enemy’s sex to lower its fighting ability, and then attacking.

 

 
I am 100% sold on this hilariously subversive concept. First of all, Uterus Man gets a sort of HR Giger-looking “pelvic chariot”—arguably the most mental superhero vehicle of all time. When he’s not cruising around in a skeletal ride, he has a skateboard modeled after a bloody maxi pad, and can propel himself on a high-pressure stream of… red liquid. He can also make babies, who fight for him at the end of an umbilical leash—there’s even enter something called “baby beast mode,” which sends feral infants to do your bidding!

You can see the animation for Uterus Man above, and a sample from the video game below—it looks really fun and well-designed! The game was recently featured in arcade console form at Yang’s latest show, and an open-source version of the Uterus Man video game is apparently still in the works.
 

 
Via ANIMAL

Posted by Amber Frost
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11.14.2014
09:43 am
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‘Tampon Run’: Teenage coders make a video game about menstruation at summer camp
09.11.2014
10:38 am
Topics:
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While Anita Sarkeesian receives death threats and rape threats for the crime of generating thoughtful, detailed critiques of the sexism in video games, as happened just a couple of weeks ago, then you know that the world of gaming sorely needs a lengthy session of sensitivity training—if its problems with women aren’t so deep-seated as to resist any improvement, that is.
 

 
Enter Andy Gonzales and Sophie Houser and their charming Flash game Tampon Run, which they designed this summer at a camp called Girls Who Code. Gonzales and Houser are both high school students in New York who wanted to attack the sexism in the gaming industry.

As Gonzales says:

“We were brainstorming what our potential feminist game would look like, and Sophie jokingly suggested a game where you could throw tampons at people. The moment she said it, we realized it was a game we could make. We did some research about the menstrual taboo and realized it was a real problem that we could legitimately address with our game.”

The game is preceded by a few splash screens in which the creators explain their purpose in designing Tampon Run:

“Although the concept of the video game may be strange, it’s stranger that our society has accepted and normalized guns and violence through video games, yet we still find tampons and menstruation unspeakable. Hopefully one day menstruation will be as normal, if not more so, than guns and violence have become in our society.”

The game itself is very simple—it emulates Mario Bros. by having a character run in a rightward direction, shooting projectiles to kill an endless succession of oncoming marauders, except the projectiles in this case are tampons. Even removing the tampons from the equation, just having the protagonist be a woman is a relative rarity in video games. You shoot the tampons at the “enemies” until you run out of ammo, but every now and then a fresh box of tampons hovers near you, and when you jump you can refresh your supply. If an enemies reaches you, you lose two tampons. The game ends when you run out of tampons. The game doesn’t exactly reward hours of playing time, but I enjoyed it well enough—in my third game I achieved a high score of 129!
 

 
via Internet Magic

Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.11.2014
10:38 am
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Video game tips from the pros
06.06.2012
12:58 pm
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image
 
“Down, down, left, right, up, down…”
 

 
Via Everything is Terrible

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.06.2012
12:58 pm
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