Games that might have been

Babble Imperium:

A couple of years ago someone attempted to make a list of every video game ever made, and put it in a 6.5MB flat file. Like any sensible person, I used it to train a recurrent neural network.

Selected examples:

  • Metal Cat (2001, Sega) (Windows)
  • Spork Demo (?, ?) (VIC-20)
  • Black Mario (1983, Softsice) (Linux/Unix)
  • Soccer Dragon (1987, Ange Software) (Amstrad CPC)
  • Mutant Tycoon (2000, Konami) (GBC)
  • Dick of the King (2007, Activision) (PC-9801)
  • Spork Race (Universe) (1990, Atlus) (Arcade)

The ‘Spork’ franchise sounds like something I’d play, and ‘Black Mario’ seems sufficiently inclusive.

See also these wonderful recipes generated using a predictive text interface:

http://objectdreams.tumblr.com/post/138639267299/recipe-for-greased-casserole-with-slices-of-lemon

And Friends episodes:

The most valuable Nintendo game

Justin Heckert, writing for ESPN about the NES game Stadium Events:

None of this would’ve happened had Jennifer Thompson not gone thriftin’. This was in April 2013, and she was browsing clothes and $1 DVDs at the Steele Creek Goodwill in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, when she noticed it behind the glass counter. The video game title sparked a memory, a Yahoo article about the rarest games in the world. Jennifer carefully drove her ’99 Honda Accord across the street to McDonald’s, just to use the restaurant’s Wi-Fi to make sure she hadn’t been wrong. She then crossed the street again and purchased the game for $8 from the $30 she had in her bank account, praying the clerk wouldn’t recognize what it was and stop her.

When she took it for validation to a used video game store in Charlotte, the young man behind the counter rustled open the plastic bag and beheld the game — pristine in its cardboard box covered by much of the original cellophane — coughing the words “Oh my god.” He offered her all the money in the register for it. She turned him down.

I know a fair bit of Nintendo history and lore, but hadn’t ever heard of this game. The story is an interesting one, with a nice twist when someone has the opportunity to flood the market and eliminate the game’s value.

On a related note, I’m stupidly excited for the forthcoming Super Mario Run for iOS.

Nintendo 64 turns 20

Scott Meslow for GQ:

But no home console was so deliberately engineered to deliver well-crafted, compulsively replayable multiplayer experiences like the Nintendo 64—a quality that eventually came to distinguish it from the rest of its competition. When you look back on the Sony Playstation, the games that stand out—Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2—were entirely single-player, designed to deliver an experience that was groundbreakingly immersive but essentially solitary.

The Nintendo 64, of course, had its own single-player masterpieces. (I’d submit Banjo-Kazooie, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, and two of the all-time great Zelda games, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask). But the majority of the N64’s truly memorable titles were best when you played them alongside a few friends. In short, the N64 was the first great social console—and 20 years later, it still hasn’t quite been surpassed.

I grew up in a staunch Nintendo household (I’ve still never owned a PlayStation or Xbox) and can attest to the multiplayer thrills of the N64. I’ve got some great memories of me and my teenage friends competing on Goldeneye or Mario Kart. Particularly when we should have been revising for exams. I must dig it out again—I’ve been wanting to revisit the Zelda games.