Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Of Cadavers And Mausoleums (Yum!)

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

So, things are finally coming back to normal here at Slightly Deranged after two very hectic months, though I fear this is going to be one very hectic year. And maybe the next one too. Anyway, I’m committed to bring you one movie and game per week through August (let’s see how long that lasts) as well as a few other goodies. While I’m preparing a post introducing to the masses (that means you and you) the ultimate DOS experience, you can enjoy today some comments about Cadaver, an overlooked classic from The Bitmap Brothers – you know, that company that pwned the Amiga – and One Dark Night, a very sinister horror film from the 80’s. Cheerio!

It’s… An Update!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I’m not going to start another post by saying that we’re returning from a brief hiatus, but things are coming back to normal in Slightly Deranged, seriously. The last few weeks have been truly insane (in many senses) so the blog had to be put on hold until now. If you somehow missed the news, my company Senscape revealed last week the name and nature of our upcoming horror game – Asylum – and all Hell broke lose. This was announced along with a trailer that has been making the rounds pretty much around the entire web and thus Asylum instantly became an anticipated title.

Not much is known about the game and, of course, we will be keeping the mystery on for a while, at least until things cool down a bit and we return with another striking blow. I will keep you readers updated about Asylum from time to time and, yes, I am intending to partly use Slightly Deranged as a developer’s diary of sorts (don’t worry, you will be able to filter these updates if you couldn’t care less about Asylum and want to stick to the cult movies and retro games).

Now, as I said, this announcement was huge and carefully planned, and we honestly couldn’t have made it without the invaluable help of many, many people. You might have heard about the viral marketing campaign involving a fake institution named the Hanwell Mental Institute accusing a fake character called Leonard Huntings of fabricating videos with yet another fake character by the name of Bertrand Laroche. This sort of meta-narration, as have been put by some, kept many folks on the edge of their seats wondering about the outcome. This all went for exactly one month and culminated with the Asylum trailer, allowing everybody to catch a glimpse of the Hanwell institute for the first time. The impact was huge: nearly 10.000 views on YouTube in less than one week, 25.000 views at GameTrailers and hot discussions everywhere. Therefore, I’m going to mention and thank all the people who helped us in this long path towards the announcement, each one of them in their own way.

(brace yourselves)

First of all, of course, the incredible team at Senscape who have been working non-stop on Asylum for countless months: Pablo Forsolloza, Juan Caratino and Pablo Palomeque, each taking care of the sinister and detailed environments of the Hanwell institute, the striking characters and the concept artwork that has held all of this together from the early stages.

Next is Daniel Pharos, our newcomer to the team that delivered an impressive soundtrack in record time and became the crowning jewel of this trailer. We can expect much more scary sounds from Daniel and in the meantime be sure to check out the incredible work at his homepage.

The omnipresent entity known as Vlad K. who has always been with us (you may remember him as Cellar Of Rats, who did the soundtrack for Scratches). Vlad assisted me in creating all these websites (the new www.Senscape.net, the fake www.Hanwell.org and the promotional www.FaceTheHorror.com) and I can’t thank him enough for that. There’s a reason why he got into web development with his new company, Haron Media.

And of course, all the people that helped to distribute the Subject E14 aka Bertrand viral videos and promote the game:

(in no particular order)

Randy Sluganski and Karla Munger from Just Adventure+

Ana, Carla, Becky and Marita from GameBoomers

Konstantinos Dimopoulos from the Gnome’s Lair

Sebastian Grünwald, Ingmar Böke and everybody else at Adventure-Treff

Jack Allin from Adventure Gamers

Sarah Crisman from the Retrochick Retroblog

Chiara Bagnoli from Join The Adventures

Igor Hardy from A Hardy Developer’s Journal

Jonathan Davies and Steve Owen from Games Press

Maximiliano Ferzzola from NeoTeo

Silviu Gheorghe from Gamershell

Barts from Barts News

Santiago Sanguinetti and Andy Nebular

And last, but not at all least, our dedicated group of beta testers, and they know that Senscape wouldn’t be the same without them:

Alkis Polyrakis, Andis Anastasis, Astrid Beulink, Eric Arevalo, Eva Forsom, Eric McConnell, Jeko-Bogoslov Bogoslovov, Michal Necasek, Panayotis Pantazis, Scott Clark, Susan Eder, Santiago De Matos Lima, Terje Kjensli, Tommy Joulin and Valerie Davis

I’m sorry I forgot anyone, but please do let me know if you believe your name should be here!

This is it for todays long post and remember that we will come back to normal next week with more movies, games and just plain deranged stuff as usual!

UPDATE: As it turns out, Asylum is enjoying over 35.000 views in YouTube thanks to an upload by IGN. Groovy!

The Most Eclectic Post You’ll Read Today

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

We’re finally back today from a brief hiatus. I’m sorry that I took so long to deliver a new update but I’ve been working on stuff – very secretive and mysterious stuff – so you’ll have to bear with me until everything is back to normal. This should happen sometime in July when we announce the Unnamable Project at Senscape, that is, reveal its actual name and nature, and unleash unspeakable horrors into the highway of bits. It’s going to be so horrific that your monitor will tremble. And you’re possibly going to cry, so don’t say you haven’t been warned. Besides, we’re still coping with the notion of naming the unnamable… I still can’t get that concept into my head.

Anyway…

Interesting stuff happened recently which I couldn’t share with you before. A couple of weeks ago I was invited (read: I shamelessly invited myself) to the official presentation of Blizzard in Buenos Aires. You know, the makers of Blackthorne. Well, apparently they’re looking to market their new titles locally so they’re setting up an office and doing PR like most evil corporations do (note: the paragraph above this one does not qualify as PR). Obviously, the focus of the presentation was the upcoming Starcraft game which has been under development for… I don’t know, maybe centuries. Now, attending this event was a real challenge for me since it forced me to socialize, which means acting like a normal human being and talking to other people. There were lots of people in fact, and the place was big and there were shiny lights and, oh yeah, food. The whole joint felt like a night club, actually. This all made me feel very nervous but I switched to my cool blogger self and attempted to look friendly and un-nerd-like. So there was this odd-looking guy with curly hair nearby ravaging the bar and I thought like he was the perfect specimen to socialize. As a result, I spent most of the night at the side of the bar eating more than I care to remember while this guy spoke me in tongues. In the meantime, I believe I drank two glasses of wine, one double whisky, champagne and two screwdrivers. And I somehow lived to tell the rest…

Next thing I remember I was talking to a PR chick very cheerfully who fortunately didn’t notice my breath (at least I don’t think she did because she was smiling all the time) while an American dude from Blizzard was bumbling some Spanish on stage. They eventually said something about a game called Starcraft 2 and showed some videos and screens. The videos were very loud and showed big things moving on screen. Then they showed us gameplay which consisted in small things constantly moving on screen (“Zergs”, I believe) and some more stuff. Finally, they gave us a Press Kit and I was annoyed to find out that it didn’t include a playable beta. My mind may be playing tricks on me now but I believe that I punched someone next and they had to drag me outside as I was screaming like all Hell broke lose.

All in all, Starcraft 2 looks a bit boring and I still prefer Blackthorne which was like Prince Of Persia with guns. Now THAT is what I call a great concept!

Anyway, anyway…

To round up todays rather acid update, did you know that Slightly Deranged is becoming wildly popular in Croatia? Last time I checked it was one of the top 5000 sites in the country which, in world wide web terms, is really, really high. Either you people have very low standards or you’re obsessed with me and the blog — I still can’t figure out which one I prefer. Right, and don’t forget to check out my picks for this week: the grossly underappreciated and misunderstood 90’s movie Motorama, and a really cool and masochistic Amiga game called Risky Woods, just the way we like ‘em.

It Never Is Too Late

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Years ago (at the beginning of the new millenium to be more precise) I promised that I would write about two underdog adventures that very few people know about. They were Igor: Objective Uikokahonia and Maupiti Island. I reviewed Igor back in 2004. Today, nearly a decade later, older and bitter, I’m posting my review of Maupiti Island which I really began typing (if I must believe the creation date of the file) in 2004 as well. Picture me flabbergasted. I sincerely hope that you enjoy the read because I feel like I have accomplished a truly legendary task. Maybe I can die in peace now…

Of course, our Movie Of The Week is up as usual and today is the turn of The Story Of Ricky. Hands down, the best Asian horror film I’ve ever seen.

In Space No One Can Hear You Type…

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

We have a mega-update today with a theme based on “space” — yes, the site can get that kind of creative from time to time. And when I say space, I mean of course all the stuff that us Sci-Fi lovers want to hear about: distant planets, outrageous creatures, intergalactic swashbuckling heroes… not that modern thing referred to as “SyFy”. Phu-lease. But to understand what I’m talking about, you will have to read this wonderful and massive interview with the team behind Darkstar, the upcoming adventure game that is looking jaw-droppingly good and features the original cast from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Jeff Williams, the producer and mastermind behind the game, tell us all about it and even the MSTK3 folks chimed in with comments! So go and grab some popcorn, coffee or beer depending on your time zone and give it a read.

You know, when I created the blog I was worried that the concept of merging videogames and cult movies would be too eclectic for the audiences but then Darkstar comes along, a game with the experts on the subject of cult cinema no less. Thank you — you gave the site some purpose.

In addition to this huge article, we have our usual weekly picks as well: Dead Space (aka Marc Singer vs. Alien) and Rex Nebular And The Cosmic Gender Bender. One of them is a lousy yet charming piece of filmmaking and the other a brilliant adventure that is a prime example of great game design. Go get them too while they’re still warm!

NOW We’re Back With A Bang!

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Gee, I must be the most irresponsible blogger ever. Another week passed by in the utmost silence here at Slightly Deranged but there is a pretty good excuse this time: my new company Senscape Interactive was officially announced last week after months of teasing. This meant deploying a whole new website with many sections and content to try and make it look professional. And a forum as well… I swear it’s the last time I ever skin one of those things. Trust me, I’ve been dreaming of terms such as CSS, PHP and FTP for the past two months. Fortunately, everything went smoothly and we could say that the launch has been a success. There’s a lot of interest about what we’re doing already – which is amazing considering that there’s practically nothing to show. I promise that faith in us will be greatly rewarded. You can have a look and be amazed, intrigued and maybe aroused right over here: www.senscape.net

The first major project that we’re presenting at Senscape is the so-called Unnamable Project because we’re not ready to tell you what it is about yet and, yes, the incredibly subtle Lovecraft reference was very intentional, so there’s some food for thought. The game is going to be a horror adventure alright and very, very large. Sometimes I sit back, look at all those blueprints and firmly believe that we have gone out of our minds. The scare factor is a whole other issue and I also think that we may have crossed the line there as well. But, we’ll have plenty of time to discuss about Unnamable and I expect to share further interesting tidbits about it within the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned! In the meantime, we have this lovely teaser online with all kinds of cryptic things: www.facethehorror.com

Of course, I haven’t forgot about my blogging weekly duties, so today I present to you The Deadly Spawn, a remarkable piece of indie filmmaking from our most favorite decade ever, the 80’s (I’m certain) and The Immortal, another arcade that made a few waves on our most favorite system ever, the Amiga (I’m positive). Hope you enjoy the write-ups and be ready for more and more. For real this time — I mean, the third or fourth time.

Back With A Bang!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

We return to our regular program with yet another Movie Of The Week / Review combo, this time the much maligned (or so they say) Troll 2. You know what? It isn’t half as bad as it’s popularly believed to be – in fact, it might be one of the most misunderstood comedies ever. Think I’m delusional? Read my writeup and make you sure you watch the clip in our YouTube channel. If you don’t laugh, they gave you a lobotomy.

There’s something that has been bothering me recently. So this is a blog about cult movies and games… then why would I post a Movie Of The Week and not a Game Of The Week? I have been pondering about this for the past four months and couldn’t arrive at any reasonable conclusion, so I simply decided to post a Game Of The Week as well. Yes, I can barely cope with writing about one movie each single week and I’m putting yet another burden on my back. I think they must have given me a lobotomy.

So, we start this exciting and unexpected feature with D/Generation, a very old favorite of mine from the golden era of the Amiga. The Movie Of The Week feature is becoming notorious for being wildly eclectic and this is going to be no different. Be sure to stay tuned for a nostalgic trip down the memory lane, as usual!

Sam Suede Returns? Yawn.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

If by chance you were on Twitter today you probably heard about the relaunch of the Sam Suede project because, honestly, I hardly saw the news anywhere else. Those of you with good memory will surely recall this game that was previously announced back in 2006 and would have meant Al Lowe’s big comeback to the game industry. By the way, if you don’t who Al Lowe is or never heard about Leisure Suit Larry you should probably stop reading this blog. Like right now.

So, Al was a co-founder of iBase, the former company in charge of Sam Suede which went bankruptcy shortly after its announcement. The game was billed at the time as an “action comedy” title and, while it wasn’t the flaming return to the adventure genre we were all expecting, it was simply good enough to hear that Al was back in game development. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be involved with this new incarnation of Sam Suede, which is kind of disheartening to say the least. Four years ago the sole mention of Al’s involvement with this project was huge publicity – in fact, it was the biggest selling point of the game. However, Icarus Studios, the new developer behind Sam Suede, is not even crediting him as one of its original creators. You’re not supposed to do that kind of thing.

But don’t fret! You can still get your share of good ol’ Al Lowe — sort of. He’s been running for years the Cyberjoke 3000 mailing list which is more or less the ultimate collection of jokes ever. I swear, he’s shared more than 5,000 jokes over a decade without a single repetition. Even better, his iPhone app is a must if you happen to own the ubiquitous device. It’s basically the funniest Cyberjokes condensed into this handy app with a slick interface and told by a professional comedian. I often have some business to attend and find myself stuck in long waiting lines. Since I can’t play games in those situations and the mood isn’t proper to listen music (yes, I’m weird) I fire up Cyberjoke 3000 and listen to a few ones. There’s well over a hundred and I still have a long way to go. It’s like having this tiny secret friend in your pocket that you can ask to whisper funny jokes in your ear whenever you need to. In the end, this app has become as useful as the maps or the calculator.

Anyway, this bitter news was a huge letdown. What seemed like a great morning turned into a really lousy day. I sometimes hate this industry.

iPhone News Roundup Pt. 1

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Are you still there? Updates to the blog have been admittedly slow through January (with the exception, of course, of the weekly movie which I always diligently post) but this is about to change as I’ve been preparing lots of content to satisfy your lust for all things cult. As a matter of fact, we’re starting this week with some lengthy updates. You might want to check out the classic movie being highlighted today along with the classic clip already available in the YouTube channel (approach with caution). Also, in case you haven’t noticed, our Facebook page has surpassed 500 fans over the weekend, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Barely two months after it was announced and this blog is already quite popular! I tremble to think what the future might bring. Seriously, thank you all for your support, it’s really great to have you there… wherever you are.

Now for todays update, many hopeless geeks such as yours truly are readying up for the announcement of the mythical Apple Tablet (iSlate? iGuide? iPad?) this Wednesday. I don’t know about you but I’m nervously giggling in anticipation. I honestly think it will change everything in the same way the iPhone did (you naysayers have to admit it already). Why should readers of this blog care, you say? A while ago I was hailing the iPhone/iPod Touch as the platform of excellence for retro-gaming and it kept getting better such as todays post will illustrate. Nobody knows why but it just happened: if you love vintage titles or adventure games, the iPhone has become the only handheld you should consider. Similarly, I predict that the fabled tablet with its allegedly 10” screen size will become an even stronger device to play retro games on the go. My reasoning? It’s about the perfect size for them. While the iPhone has its good share of classic games, it can be admittedly difficult to control some of them with precision. Remember these ports were designed with much larger screens and different interfaces in mind. On the other hand, the 13” size of many netbooks feels right, if a bit too large. I’ve been playing many old games with this size recently and graphics do tend to look blocky and dated. However, even a prehistorical resolution of 320×200 should look reasonably good on 10” screens and still feel comfortable enough to play perfectly fine. Coupled with the soon-to-be-ubiquitous touchscreen and Apple’s friendly app publishing scheme, this will surely mean much more ports. More specifically, I believe the 10” touchscreen will be the ideal way to play past adventures which could mean a full-blown revival of the genre. I’m most definitely excited!

Anyway, this part of the update deals with iPhone ports (obviously). First, and most importantly, is the fresh release of Broken Sword, a game that shouldn’t need any introduction. This adventure, Revolution’s follow-up to Beneath A Steel Sky (also available in the App Store), was hugely popular back in 1996 and clearly remains so in the actuality, spawning three sequels, one fan-game and recent Nintendo DS and Wii ports, from which this iPhone version happens to be based on. Broken Sword has been updated with lots of new content (supposedly adding up to 20% of gameplay), new cutscenes and revised graphics. The interface has also been adjusted to feel right on the smaller screen, just as in Beneath A Steel Sky, with great results. Personally I’m not too crazy about the new character portraits but I can live with them.

Next on my list is Dragon’s Lair. I don’t believe I need to say anything about the game itself other than it has become an iconic arcade of the 80’s and still is amazingly fun to play these days. Granted, the gameplay is downright dumb but there’s a certain something about Dragon’s Lair that is extremely appealing and satisfying (possibly the notion that you’re truly taking part in a cartoon film). The iPhone port is flawless and the game has never played or seen better – I’m not kidding, the port seems to be a direct conversion of the Bluray release. It just looks drop-dead gorgeous with smooth animations and bright colors. This is clearly a must-have if anything for its nostalgia value.

Among the same lines is Cobra Command, yet another laserdisc arcade of the 80’s in which you pilot a battle helicopter through several thrilling situations. The gameplay was slightly more complicated than Dragon’s Lair, however, since you could steer to avoid obstacles which added a new layer of difficulty. This conversion is also amazing, recreating the same feel of the arcade with extraordinary results.

Another recent release that got lost among the waves of apps flowing each week is The Escapee, a very faithful port from one of the last Amiga games ever developed. I believe onEscapee (as it was released in 1997) was pretty successful in the Amiga but remains an obscure title everywhere else. This is a very lengthy and well produced game reminiscent of Flashback (alright, to be fair it’s a cheap ripoff) that should be worth your attention. Keep in mind the same game is available for free in the PC, right over here.

Finally, the last port worth of mention is the C64 classic rogue game, Sword Of Fargoal. The game has been fully revamped albeit maintaining the same classic look. I had my qualms at first since I never got into rogue games that much but in the end I decided to give it a shot. It’s frankly very addictive and has a lot of casual appeal. If you never heard about rogue games before, the basic idea is to loot, kill monsters and advance through endless dungeons disregarding any potential storyline. Sword Of Fargoal exceeds in the quick advancing and simple mechanics. Also, the levels are always randomly generated so it will be a long time until you get tired it.

More iPhone updates in the second part, coming soon!

iTunes Links: Broken Sword: Director’s Cut, Dragon’s Lair, Cobra Command, The Escapee, Sword Of Fargoal.

Redefining Geekiness

Friday, November 27th, 2009

What do you do when you have plenty of time on your hands? Why, reinterpret the Monkey Island tune on piano and guitar! The quality of the sound is a bit on the lower side but these two guys show plenty of skill.

Now I dare them to make a cover of Turrican II.