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Phil’s Newsletter #28, Sticks & Fists Take Down Streets of Rage

Issue #28 of my weekly newsletter is now available on the usual place. You can subscribe for free, or kick me a few bucks if you like it and want me to keep doing it.

In other news, John and I beat Streets of Rage on episode 2 of Sticks and Fists. Episode 3, this coming Wednesday to my Twitch channel, will feature Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie: The Game.

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New Game From Me: Chipping Challenge

From the official page:

Chipping Challenge is a point-and-click meditative golf-like game meant to be relaxing and rewarding. Games usually last about 15 minutes.

As of this writing Chipping Challenge Alpha04 is available for free on macOS, Windows, Linux, and Android. It is totally a riff on Desert Golfing, but more than that, and I hope you like it.

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The 1977 Divergent League Baseball Postseason is here!

I haven’t talked about much about Divergent League (What is Divergent League?), the atemporal fantasy sports thing I run, here. My Patreon is usually kept up to date, but let’s get some cross-posting going on. Marketing 101.

The 1977 postseason has begun, and the White Sox, Yankees, Reds, and Pirates are vying for the coveted Bip Roberts Memorial Cup Even Though He’s Still Alive. We’re streaming games live every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 3:30pm PDT on Twitch. Join us!

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THE ROAD TO MAGNASANTI

Catnip for the doomed gamer generation:

In 2010, an obsessed gamer designed the perfect game of Sim City. Achieved through a repeating pattern of clustered high rises, “Magnasanti” exposes the hellish consequences of top-down civic design. In his new documentary, John Wilson explores how New York City is creeping closer and closer to realizing this fictional metropolis.

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Rassler release 13 is now available

Release 13 of my doomed video game project, Rassler, is now available for download. The dev log has more details:

First and most notably: The Rassler title screen and wrestler / territory select screens have music now! I made it. It’s probably fine? I also created and added a little punch sound effect when you start a new game. You can stream / download the new theme on SoundCloud

Rassler is a pay-what-you-can game. Pay-what-you-can means you can download Rassler for free, or if you’ve got the money, you can buy it.

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Astray, a lua-based dungeon and maze generator

Works great with Love2d, and so I am using it in a new (surprise!) wrestling-based project.

Download: astray on github

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Rassler Release 12 is now available

Release 12 brings a snazzy new launch screen, and an new territory select/generation screen. We’re getting closer to have a fully tracked career, with persistent opponents and all.

More details are in the release notes. You can download it, or even buy it (if you can afford to do so) on the Rassler site.

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Galencia

Galencia, the 2017 Commodore 64 Game of the Year, is now available on Steam.

That’s right, a brand-new honest-to-goodness Commodore 64 game in all its 1980s glory ported to your PC (Mac coming soon). Full disclosure: Developer is a friend of my co-worker.

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Finding and exploiting hidden features of Animal Crossing’s NES emulator

While looking for ways to activate the developer menus left over in Animal Crossing, including the NES emulator game selection menu, I found an interesting feature that exists in the original game that was always active, but never used by Nintendo. In addition to the NES/Famicom games that can be obtained in-game, it was possible to load new NES games from the memory card. I was also able to find a way to exploit this ROM loader to patch custom code and data into the game, allowing for code execution via the memory card.

Incredibly detailed and well-written article, goes super deep into reverse-engineering the technology.

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Universal Mega Dumper

Unnaturally tempted by this project, which has created a common platform for cartridge dumping w/ standard adapters for the major consoles. It auto-recognizes which type of cart you connect, too!

The Universal Mega Dumper (UMD) is a game catridge read/writer project designed around a Teensy++ microcontroller. The universality comes from the UMD’s ability to support many different types of catridge connectors by having general purpose 16 bit data and 24 bit address paths along with a dozen control signals – all of which can be customized for each game cartridge mode.

More on the project page.

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Bridgesketball, a mixed reality basketball game you can play anywhere

I’ve been working off and on for the last several months on a new project for the Bridge headset, which I’m calling Bridgesketball. It’s a mixed reality basketball game. You can put up a backboard practically anywhere and shoot hoops.

So I’ve promoted Bridgesketball to Project status here on Extra Future Dot Com. The last thing I did this for was la petite url (a custom URL shortener which got broken by some WordPress update or other and no longer works, sorry sorry) so… good luck, Bridgesketball. You’ll find a preview video on the Bridgesketball page as well as a slightly more thorough description, and I’ll add more stuff later. Promise.

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Super Mario World – Virtual Reality

A gorgeous VR version of the SMW map, rendered in Google Blocks. There is a video of its creation, too.

Via Chappel Ellison

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A Selection of Machine-Generated NES Game Titles

I’ve begun learning how to do machine learning. It is extremely complicated, but I feel after just a few days of trying I understand it much better. This python wrapper for tensorlm has made generating results much easier for me. I’ve got my little machine trained on the full NES US release list, and it’s giving me back things like this…

  • Super Super Hank
  • Doobley Dragon
  • Chanter
  • Class
  • Cartlevanina I: The Antiration
  • Kiggt’s Burtman
  • Jet
  • Rome Alone
  • Rock Hart’s Cave
  • Rock Master
  • Masher: II Lands
  • Greeado A World II
  • Pet of Tower
  • Baseball Loaded III

They can’t all be winners.

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The Eleanor Rigby Battle Theme

Single Link Twitter Post of the day. A skillful mash-up of the classic Pokemon battle theme and the Beatles song Eleanor Rigby. Includes a video of the MIDI notes being played. (via @joshmillard)

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Haunted Floating Eye Release 2 is Now Available

The Love2d game jam is over, but I’m not finished with Haunted Floating Eye yet.

Release 2 dropped on Saturday, and is now available for download. I wrote a little about the release.

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New Game: Haunted Floating Eye

Created for LÖVE Jam 2018, my latest game is called Haunted Floating Eye. It’s something like a tower (lair) defense game, mixed with cruelty, base building and ennui. The jam has ended, but voting is open for the next 12 days. I’d really appreciate it you tried it out, and voted on the on the game jam page.

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Retronauts on the 20th Anniversary of Gunpei Yokoi’s Death

Gunpei Yokoi’s legacy is one of sensible choices and thoughtful compromise. I admire him greatly as a professional. Jeremy Parish has a retrospective on Retronauts.com:

Yokoi liked to create gadgets. More than that, he liked to come up with clever hacks. He had a keen eye for simple but unexpected ideas that would translate into fun toys, along with an unerring sense of how to make those products affordable for the widest audience possible. Rather than saving costs by using cheap materials, Yokoi preferred to match low prices to premium quality production by making cuts at the conceptual level.

Same, Gunpei. Same.

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Korg teases music making app for Nintendo Switch

The announced it by way of a little microsite. The KORG apps for DS are a ton of fun, I have a feeling this one will be even better.

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Finding the First Videogame ROM

Ed Fries tracks down the first ever ROM programmed for a video game, older than previously-found chips. What a find.

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Rassler Release 8 AKA Random Events Part II

Just pushed a new release of my free retro pro wrestling RPG, Rassler. This one contains some small updates and an interesting, complicated, unintended consequence:

The last bullet point, explaining the changes to the activity system, is essentially a naive implementation of drug dependency. The player needs their health to be above 0 in order to work or go out. If the player has $40 they can buy some pain killers to get them through the next match, but pain killers only provide a +6 to short-term health (and a -6 to max health, affecting their future prospects and longevity) so it is not a sustainable solution. Either the player gets lucky, and their next several matches are relatively easy and they aren’t further injured, or something bad happens and they’re rendered immobile and bankrupt in the end.

More in the Devlog.