With your host, Rob Remakes

Category: Quick Notes Page 1 of 2

In my day…

That was real music, Mr Winnie. None of that modern claptrap.

Murder In The Red Barn

There’s a terrible tendency for some folk to slip into “things were better in my day” when writing about older videogames and I can’t fib, it drives me absolutely spare. Whether it’s the implausible claim that games used to be released in a perfectly working state (which has never been true) or designed not to take your money (also not true) or anything in between, I just don’t understand the levels of ignoring reality it takes to even beginning thinking along those lines.

I do, however, accept that it is an eternal constant. I may never be able to understand what possesses someone to slip into get off my lawn mode over any art form, I do understand that every generation goes through the same thing.

These days (not like in the old days) I tend to think of the wonderful Tod Slaughter film, Murder In The Red Barn when thinking about “kids today” thinking. It’s a great adaptation of a bunch of Victorian era melodramatic plays and Slaughter takes his usual obvious pleasure in playing the villainous Squire Corder which makes the film a delight! However, it’s an early scene that sticks with me the most.

The film opens at a dance organised by the squire where a band plays, there are dances and drink and smiles all round. Nearly everyone attending is having a wonderful time. As the entertainment comes to a close, there’s a brief scene where a guest congratulates the band and in doing so, thanks them for playing “real music … none of that modern claptrap”.

Kids today, eh.

The film is from 1936 and I’m certain there’s plenty of examples of the same sentiment in literature and plays in the years prior. Look, I haven’t researched this but given as long as I can remember I’ve heard variations on the same thought or people taking the piss out of other people for it so I feel pretty comfortable making that claim. I lived through the eighties and synth bands existing and I still wear the scars of “that’s not real music, no guitars see”, there’s always something.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to the idea that games (or any other art form) are forever moving in a forward direction whether that’s for better or for worse.

Whilst we certainly learn from games and works that have gone before, there’s so many tangents and routes to explore that it’ll be years before we’ve even touched the sides of it all and along the way we’ll continue trying things that perhaps aren’t to someone else’s tastes, making a mess with stuff that works out, stuff that doesn’t and all this can be in just one game, never mind all of them.

These things are messy and I get a great deal of pleasure from the mess.

As long as there’s money to be made, there’ll be games made to extract cash from someone as efficiently as possible and games that prefer to just be and have none of that, thanking you. At both ends of that particular spectrum there will be great games and not so great games made and some will hit the spot in ways other older games could not, some will pine for the fjords for the games of Christmas past, some will have their feet firmly in the future, some will even be pretty nasty.

Whatever, it’s going to be a wild ride and no amount of “in my day” will make it any less exciting to me.

Let’s raise a glass to the now and the future of videogames and the glorious mess that they are. Oh, and do give Murder In The Red Barn a watch, it’s brilliant stuff.

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Look at it! A.R.T.I. (Atari 7800)

Though I’d read about it first sometime last year, I’d completely forgotten about ARTI, a currently work in progress HERO rejig for the 7800, until a reminder popped up this week.

Absolutely in love with the brick work on the Egyptian stages. Gorgeous stuff! Just look at it!

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The Ecco The Dolphin Text Generator

Big Announcement!

The Ecco the Dolphin Text Generator is complete!

This is an Ecco the Dolphin Text Generator that creates animated gifs and static images using the ripple generating algorythm from Ecco 2 The Tides of Time


  • Theme Selection
  • Font Selection
  • Background Effect Distortions
  • Animated Characters
  • International Character Support
  • Russian Character Support
  • Hiragana and Katakana Support

Give it a whirl and feel free to give me some feedback!


Hectortelloc’s Announcement post on mastodon

Sometimes you don’t know you need a thing until someone makes the thing. This is one of those things.

Link: The Ecco The Dolphin Text Generator

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The 50% Rule

A screenshot of No Man's Sky. A blue "squid" ship flies through the atmosphere. A planet hangs in the distance in a blue night sky. Orange and purple clouds ripple over an orange sea.

“I’ve seen so many fellow devs voice discontentment about being unable to do it as a hobby or pursue their actual passion (game dev) after exhausting their mental energy 40 hours a week, basically every week, to be able to afford the basics.

I’d argue the real problem isn’t learning to divide your time spent on your hobby but rather the impossibility of dividing your time in everything.”

Nat, the 50% RULE (COHOST)

For lots of reasons, this is a post I’ve needed to reread fairly often in recent weeks because I’ve got so much going on (still) that I need to go easier on myself when the most I can manage to do right now is lie down and watch a film in the down time.

(Incidentally, Cohost has been an absolute beacon of peace for me too. I forgot how much I missed longer form posts and braindumps, and more importantly not feeling the need to post at every interval. It is obviously very early Tumblr in vibe and you know what? That’s more than fine)

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New Rally X64

Absolutely love the look of this new homebrew conversion of New Rally X for the Commodore 64. The chonky C64 pixels and its distinctive palette are a really, really good fit for the game.

via Indie Retro News.

Indie Retro News: New Rally-X64 – An Arcade conversion of Rally X for the C64 gets its first release candidate
Jake79 with music by Merman and sound effects by NM156, has made available the first release candidate of their Arcade conversion of New Rally-X64

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Catlateral Damage Remeowstered

A screenshot from Catlateral Damage showing a cat paw lurching into the screen to trash a bacon sandwich.

Actually breaking off writing about something else here to quickly mention that Catlateral Damage, my favourite cat game that isn’t the wonderful Calico, gets a shiny remastered version launched today. Not only that but an already perfectly named game (Catlateral! Brilliant!) gets a variation on “Remastered” that puts Red Faction Guerilla’s awesome “Re-Mars-tered” to shame.

(And yes, I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t have a favourite cat game. I’ll even accept Artic’s Paws).

Catlateral Damage is a sandbox (litterbox) game where you get to pick one of many cats and do what cats do best – get the zoomies, push things off shelves onto the floor thus causing a massive mess and having a ball with the bog roll. Oh, and nap, obvs.

For anyone with a long enough memory, it’s more Off-Road Velociraptor Safari than Goat Simulator. – compact and focused on doing what it does well.

(Oh, and yeah, there’s a dedicated meow button because that’s important)

It’s great and out on just about most things today. A wonderful piece of family friendly silliness that I’ve adored for a fair few years now and I’m glad it’s getting another go round because it’s great.

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Top Banana

GLOBAL CHAOS (in a very nineties, grainy, style)

In “videogames I haven’t thought about in years” corner, it strikes me that it took indie games approximately 30 years to reach the visual heights of the Archie/Amiga game, Top Banana.

It's Top Banana. A purple and black striped border surrounds a mass of digital detritus masquerading as a videogame in the best possible glitch-aesthetic.
all pics from Moby Games

Which would be less strange if Top Banana wasn’t an early footnote in indie game history courtesy of (latterly) Pom Pom’s Miles Visman.

Pom Pom, of course, being responsible for Mutant Storm and that – games which would have been a lot of people’s gateway back into the world of the super small team long before anyone had even considered thinking about making Braid or whatever the first indie game is this week.

Another pic. Same deal as the last but more.

Here’s the ever reliable HG 101 if you want to know more, though I disagree that “it’s just plain bad”. Personally, I prefer “difficult and before its time”. Also “looks astounding“.


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Hot Seagulls In Your Area

It's too roughly drawn seagulls, held by two hands, being made to kiss each other.

With a big thank you to autocorrect for trying to change “area” to “rear” whilst I wasn’t paying attention. Bad autocorrect, naughty. That’s something else entirely.

My dear old nan, bless her soul, used to say to me “Rob”, “Rob love, you haven’t lived a full life until you’ve popped two seagulls in a basket to see if they can truly love each other” and whilst she was absolutely correct, she forgot to mention just how difficult it is to put a seagull in a basket.


I don’t really want to say too much about Hot Seagulls In Your Area for fear it might somehow take away some of the magic but it absolutely cracked me up.

As if the idea of having to get a bunch of seagulls to smooch each other wasn’t silly enough, everything about the game leans into that silly from the writing to the minigames to the art. I’d barely gotten as far as weighing the love compatibility of seagulls up for the first time before being reduced to giggling mess. And somehow, it managed to keep working on me the more time I put in.

It’s a little bit Foddy-core (though without the punishing element), a little bit point and click and all ridiculous. It’s great and just the tonic given this year and everything.

Grab it on Itch.

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Last Train To Tranz-Central

It's a Speccy game so only a few colours and low res, right. But! It's a cowboy on top of a futuristic train firing at an incoming rocket. There's a ladder that goes into the train where some elaborate futuristic platforms (tables?) occupy space. A blue box reading "lock on" is to the far right. It looks very good indeed.

Just a very, very quick one today.

I finally remembered to get round to buying Last Train To Tranz-Central a few minutes ago after legit forgetting for a ridiculously long time.

Since I first saw the screenshots, I was in love. It’s such great spritework, not only does it carry off the whole futuristic train thing well but screen to screen, manages to look like very little else.

I’d tried the demo, loved that too. Managed to wax lyrical about it on Twitter one time then by quirks of payday timings and my increasingly terrible memory, simply forgot to go back and buy it.

I ended up thinking about it again a few nights back because really, I can’t overstate how much I love how it looks, and finally remembered to punt a few quid over for it.

Better late than ever and I get there in the end.

Another screenshot from the game. This time we're looking at a yellow carriage, the player is inside close to some fetching purple diamonds. There's chains and balls and a display with a red warning sign.

You’ll either need a Spectrum emulator or the real deal hardware to give it a shot. I’ve been playing it on my phone through Speccy Deluxe and it works just great.

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Videogames Peaked In 1992

It’s pretty obvious to me that games peaked in 1992 and we’ve been coasting ever since because how else can you explain Popeye 3 existing and only Muscle March ever coming close?

Yes, that is Popeye wrestling a xenomorph. And yes, the xenomorph has Popeye in a bit of a pickle.

If I were Popeye, even after eatsing my spinach, I’d be a bit worried! As far as I know, spinach does very little against acid for blood. I mean, I haven’t actually tested this in any scientific way but it seems like a safe assumption to make given what we know about plants and acid. I would not chew on a leaf to ward off an alien.

Anyway. You can see why there’s a packed out auditorium. If someone I knew was selling tickets to a wrestling match between Popeye and a xenomorph and promised me the universe’s widest ghost would have a ringside seat, I would move heaven and Earth to get tickets and totally sneak a camera in too.

Come on, videogames. You need to be at least this weird with licensed games or go home.

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