No UE update. I was busy last night porting Cliff Hanger over to the MAME box; it took many, many CD-RW trips back and forth to get all 1.5 gigs of files over. Then I had to configure it to work with the X-Arcade… for some reason, Cliffy’s ‘Feet’ button was hard-mapped to the second player start button. I mapped the ‘Hands’ button to the first player start button so it’d make sense, but ick, that kinda breaks the whole concept of a START button… but anyway, it’s running, it’s sw33t, and I’m a happy camper. Retro fun! Of course, getting the game in this manner is technically illega; I’ve decided that if Cliff Hanger is ever released on DVD/DVD-ROM/PC format, I’ll buy a copy so I’m legally in the clear.
I’m partially in the clear, at least… I own a copy of Lupin III: Castle of Cogliostro, which I bought months ago on a recommendation from lostboydv but haven’t watched until last night. Excellent old school anime; it took a LONG time to get to the “Well, what’s really going on?”, almost Noir-like in how they skirt around the issue, but there’s enough action and antics to make up for the pacing. The dub isn’t too bad, either — Jigen gets more one-liners than he does in the Japanese version but everything else is damned accurate and pretty well done. Hooray!
Meanwhile, I’ve decided to add Australia to my list of places I’d rather not live. (Also on the list is Texas, due to death penalty objections.) Not only does the ruling party spy on the political opposition but they’ve also decided they don’t need a warrant to monitor damn near anything. Of course, Usians are pretty much in the same boat thanks to the Patriot Act and Ashcroft’s continuing efforts to stamp out terrorism and our civil liberties…
Also in the news, the UE radio play is ticking along nicely. Only quibble hit so far concerns the opening music. As you know, the soundtrack to UE is laid out and I’ve designed the series from day one to correspond to an anime production… but apparently the FLAVA radio play community which the project is growing out of doesn’t believe in having opening themes. Therefore the song will get chopped down to either 30 seconds (hopefully) or 14 seconds (more likely). I’ve debated with the producers a bit to try and get as much of the music in there as possible, since it’s core to the UE experience as originally envisoned, but obviously I won’t order a halt to the project if we only get 14 seconds of music in there; that’d be silly. They’re putting in a hell of a lot of work on this thing, something I’m VERY appreciative of, and if we have to trim the music to make it happen then so be it.
Still, it’s a bit disheartening that we have to go along with staples and standards and dogma that lean a bit on the end creative product, though. If I believed in that sort of thing, UE would instead be a ASCII formatted Ranma fanfic posted to the FFML with no web page to speak of. Bleeh. Molds are made to be broken, in my opinion; the only way to get noticed is to be fresh and new, do something outside the norms, go with what’s best for YOUR work rather than what everybody else thinks is mandatory.
Music issue aside, it seems UERP has some nice groundwork going in terms of being fresh and groovy — a preliminary browse shows 90% of all FLAVA productions are fandom style takes on existing properties with existing music. I even saw a re-dub of a Cowboy Bebop episode in the project this. This reminds me of why my original work is so damn satisfying… at the end of the day, you can say it’s ALL yours, baby. No niggling doubts, no legal issues, no sticking points. Just pure pride in a job well done.
Finally, something that I thought of before I went to bed — a fun web poll. Not an automated multiple choice “What kind of aardvark would I be?” sort of thing, but a simple question…
Since I’m on a retro-gaming-geek roll lately… let’s say you won a contest in a magazine or something, and were told you could have ANY THREE coin-op arcade games of your choosing installed in your basement / game room / apartment. (This makes more sense than ‘if you were stranded on a desert island…’) Which three games would they be, and why? What’s the best of the best, the ones you’d love to play every day, the ones that stand out above the others? Feel free to answer here in comments or in your own journal.
ELEVATOR ACTION. Pac-Man is just a pattern memorization game. Donkey Kong puts you in too many situations that are totally unfair. No, the oldest classic I’d play is Elevator Action… because it’s truly organic, random, and skill-based. You need good reflexes and good timing but you can’t cheat by memorizing patterns, you have to be able to think on your toes, predict enemy patterns, and snap off gunfire and jumping and things with skillz. And the music’s cute.
DRAGON’S LAIR. A true nostalgic classic, with amazing animation, great personality and simple gameplay. This is more of an ‘experience’ game than a ‘skillz’ game — once you know how to beat it and can do so consistently, there’s no challenge. The fun lies in storming the lair again and again to recapture the experience, like watching a favorite movie over and over.
POWER STONE. I explained why before: it’s a terrific over the top brawler with a wide variety of ways to clobber the enemy. The only game that adequately simulates a wire-fu flick. And unlike the second game, which was a Smash Brothers wannabe, the first game had some real one on one competition goin’ down. Saweet.
Honorable Mentions: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (plenty of content), Dig Dug (easy to play, hard to master), Roadblasters (sheer nostalgia), Robotron 2084 (frenzy fun).