With Your Host, Rob Remakes

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Look At This! Endlight

I’ve been watching (and playing) Endlight in various forms now for the best part of a decade thanks to it being a regular entry into the IGF. It’s always been an incredible looking thing whatever form it’s taken – it’s a game that asks “how much can we push around on the screen?” and then doubles it for a laugh. It’s frankly obscene looking stuff and videogame witchcraft.

When you get to the videos in a mo you’ll see what I mean (that’s if the YouTube compression hasn’t absolutely slaughtered the game, as it often does. YouTube was not designed to handle Endlight. Nothing was designed to handle Endlight).

Watching Endlight warp, bend and evolve over the course of the past nine or ten years has been an absolute pleasure and genuinely, I’ve looked forward each year to seeing what the latest version would bring. As works in progress tend to be like, not every year has felt like the game nailed it but even when it drifted a tad, it was always, always an exciting sight to behold regardless.

It’s weird to think that very soon, I’ll have to find something else to look forward to getting my grubby mits on as Endlight, finally, has an end in sight. It releases towards the end of July. I know, I know, it’s smashed through (oi! – ed) a number of release dates before now but this looks like the one.

I am ten excited out of five for it. I mean, really, when was the last time you saw a game that looked like this? More games that look like they’ve fallen out of the demoscene dimension, please.

Endlight on Steam
Releases Friday July 28, 2023. Break through and outlast shifting, twisting, chaos. Dodging is for cowards, start SMASHING.

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Play This! A cracking bunch of Pico 8 remakes for your edification

Pico 8 really is a gift.

I’ll confess I amused myself earlier reading over one of those terribly cringeworthy developer profiles people used to write around a decade ago that positioned Lexaloffle’s other virtual videogame console, Voxatron, as The Future, especially when combined with Also The Future Kinect. Well. That was certainly one future that never happened, bless.

Whilst Voxatron ticks along nicely enough in a post Kinect world, it was its lowkey alternative Pico-8 that videogames embraced wholesale. Turns out developers kinda like easy-ish ways to write games, fixed specifications to aim for, pretty colours and letting people play the end result without too much trouble. Who knew!

Over the past seven or eight years since Pico 8 got thrown out into the world there’s been just so much stuff made, it’s been truly fab to watch. Whether it’s something like Celeste or some of the stuff demosceners wrench out of it, it’s all kinda lovely.

It’s also been a lovely little corner for a bunch of people to go and remake old games in. There’s plenty to be found out there but a whole bunch of recent favourites come courtesy of chum of Punching Robots and all round remaking legend, Minion.

I’m not even going to pretend I’m unbiased here! For the past twenty years I’ve admired the stuff Min’s been quietly putting out there, a bunch of their old Dark Basic (one for the old people here) remakes were best in class by a few leagues and then some. It helps, also, that they’re an absolutely lovely human being.

Min’s Pico 8 remakes seem to have flown under the radar a little bit despite there being a bunch of corkers in there (I’m super fond of Manic Miner, been playing that a bit the past few days but Scramble is the all timer for me) so really, this is just a post to remedy that somewhat because here’s a fabulous bunch of remakes that deserve to be played.

So, erm, go and do that and you can thank me later.

MinionSoft – itch.io

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Watch: Beyond The Scan lines on JetPak DX

I reckon it was all downhill for Ultimate after Jetpac. Not a reflection of how poor any subsequent games were (post-US Gold aside, they were far, far from it) but how fantastic Jetpac is. Alongside Pssst and Cookie, it oozed an arcade sensibility that would largely disappear as Ultimate’s games got larger and more ambitious and it remains my favourite out of all their games.

There’s been a nice handful of remakes and tributes over the years (there’s a couple on Switch even), Rare took a punt at a remake of their own in the early days of XBLA and that turned out pretty alright for the most part. It’s part of Rare Replay so it’s not been lost to time like plenty of other games from around that era, which means you can still give it a punt fairly easily if you haven’t already given it a shot.

Anyway. My preferred remake is the excellent Rocket Smash EX, for my money it gets pretty close to besting the original and Saul’s graphics are wonderful, making good use of the C64 to really shine the thing up. However, Super Jetpak DX for the Gameboy is pretty fine too and it’s this that one of the other Robs reviews in their latest Beyond The Scanlines video. The game’s naturally a bit more cramped than your normal Jetpac given it’s got to work on a handheld but for the most part it’s a sterling job and Rob provides a great introduction to it.

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