Extreme

Extreme

You’d maaaaybe be surprised at how many people asked me “how does he go the toilet?” when I posted this EXTREME advert on Twitter.

I kinda figured all the clues were in the picture and that’s one gun you really don’t want to be shot with, but what do I know.

Chef

chef

I don’t know what happens if you do anything but poison the customers because I am a terrible human being but Chef is a great little mildly interactive film/game thing that lets you poison your customers.

I’ll never find out if there’s other options because, well, it’s far too tempting to just poison all the customers, yeah?

via Jupiter Hadley.

Flying Train

I’m fairly sure most people have more sensible comfort games than this but then, they’re not me. Flying Train is very much my go to thing when I need a bit of cheering up.

Originally featured on the B-Side of Chris Sievey’s Camouflage (possibly making it one of the first round of budget games?), Flying Train is sort of Frog Fractions long, long before anyone bothered to invent Frog Fractions.

As you’d expect from the man who sometimes wasn’t Chris Sievey at all and instead inhabited an oversized papier-mache head when being Frank Sidebottom, it’s both daft as a brush, filled with a childish charm and rather joyous. From referring to the player as a Railwaynaut (and who hasn’t always wanted to be one of those?) to asking the player to “Press Any Trousers”, it’s full of little smiles and heart.

Beginning on a railway track where the top half of the train is missing from 9 trains, you’re charged with landing the tops of the trains on the bottoms whilst avoiding the birds. The snag being that the bottom of the train is likely to end up overlapping with a previously landed train so, as the instructions suggest, count the wheels. It’s tougher than it sounds given the speccy’s flickery movement and given we’re talking 1983, easy to assume that this is all the game is. But nope. That would be too easy, too obvious.

Once you’ve finally succeeded in making your flying trains, the game sets off on its own little merry way through time and space and takes you on a journey only fit for true railwaynauts with many a twist and turn. Being a railwaynaut isn’t as easy as you’d expect, y’know? Proper job, that.

I dunno, it’s the sheer joy behind it and how clearly it wants you to share in it that makes me adore it so. Even today, the amount of games that want to take you on a sort of gleeful, silly ride are in fairly short supply. More so I guess when everyone’s trying to be all satirical and all about the internet meme or whatever it is the kids are down with these days. Flying Train has no truck with being cool, it just wants you to smile a bit. Which I guess is very, very Frank.

Chris went on to write the mildly successful music biz simulator The Biz not long after but his computer game work is mainly forgotten, overshadowed as it is by his music career and Frank. It’s a shame because Flying Train is such a sweet thing that’s happy just being a happy thing. Mind you, it’s also a reminder that Frank and Chris are no longer with us and the world is all the sadder for their loss.

I miss Frank, really.

I really do.

The Secret Of St Brides

stbrides

St Brides surely has to rank as one of the more curious development houses in our history of videogames.

A school for young girls age 13-18 where anyone could be a girl (and more usually, realistically aged 20 upwards) with a foot firmly cemented in an almost victorian view of the world. Not the first place you’d expect to find game development done but there we go. Throughout the eighties they produced games that ranged from quirky “in school” adventures to spoofs of known and popular adventure games (a surprisingly well filled niche at the time) to a game based on Jack The Ripper. Obviously.

The prospectus (courtesy of Mocagh) gives little away about any game development done there (and why would it?) and an old Crash interview does wonders in skirting what St Brides as an institution is although you get the strange feeling that no-one quite expected what they found there.

It was a more innocent time, I’m sure.

There’s a fantastic article from one of last year’s GamesTM mags that details some of the chequered history of St Brides both as a development house and as an institution and, well, a cursory online search provides many stories about what came after St Brides with the founding of Aristasia amongst other things. There’s also a Channel 4 documentary on life with Miss Martindale from the mid nineties, the first part is embedded below.

And if you’re looking for a starting point? The Secret Of St Brides is as good as any but well, it’s very of its time and the situations you find yourself in far from conventional.

Jet Set Willy Mobile (2004)

As far as I can remember the mobile port of Jet Set Willy never managed to make it out into the wild and that’s a big shame as it’s quite a gorgeous looking thing. Whilst it no doubt would have been quite the handful to try and play the game on a normal mobile phone screen from the time (we’re talking 2004 here, long before smartphones were AThingTM) it was none the less, a really lovely recreation of the game that played great and sounded great too.

Numfun would later go on to write the final “official” entry into the Willy series with… Jet Set Racing which is, yes, a kart racer. You may laugh but it’s a really nice Kart Racer as mobile phone games from 2005 Kart Racing style go. And we get to find out the foot is called Terry. So that’s a thing.

Anyway, here’s some “look what you could have won” pictures of the game.

Captain Forever Remix

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There’s a lot of things I really enjoy in Captain Forever Remix. The way it transforms a curious retro styled sci-fi experience into a sister vs brother game is most definitely the biggest but ultimately, I’m also always going to be a sucker for really pretty things and Captain Forever Remix *is* really pretty.

It doesn’t really come off too well static but the spawn in sequence is a blink and you miss it nice touch, especially when you zoom the camera in. Then there’s who you fight. I got into a fight with a dog and lost. It’s not the first time but I think it’s the first time since Saboteur on the Speccy that it felt a bit like I’d just embarrassed myself. That’d never happen with cats, you always know you’re onto a losing streak with them.

It’s all done with a very playful This Is Make Believe On A Saturday Morning thing which lends the whole game a really joyous tone even whilst your carefully built modular craft is trashed by a goldfish. It’s probably worth mentioning that it has some great looking explosions too.

Captain Forever Remix goes into Early Access in a few hours and is pretty much everything I’d hoped it would be. It paints a very human face on a previously cold and clinical videogame and in doing so makes it all the better.