Archive for June, 2010

Dog Police, Part 2

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Upon further inspection, I’ve discovered that the entire album featuring the single “Dog Police” — which, you’ll remember, is called Dog Police, and is performed by the band Dog Police — is available for purchase from Amazon.

I can’t quite make myself commit to a purchase, but the samples Amazon provides are nothing short of incredible. It’s like Mark E. Smith kidnapped Thomas Dolby and forced him to make music for robots.

Sample lyric: “Is he a lawyer or a coroner? Stirrin’ eggs, pokin’ meat. Makin’ sure it’s hot, for us to eat.”

Also: “I’ve got this passion for the doggie fashion (He’s got the passion for the doggie fashion)”

I’m mainly posting this to confirm my own sanity, since nobody seems to have any record of the Dog Police TV pilot existing, and all of these songs could very well be the product of my own imagination. Surely someone else can hear them too?

Anyway, I promise to make this my last Dog Police-related post unless there is a significant new development. Maybe I should get the Fish Police on the case. Or Poochinski.

The Horror of 3-D Bomberman

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Over at Magweasel, Kevin Gifford posted up a neat video of the world’s very first Bomberman game (titled “Bomber Man”) for the MSX and PC-8801 home computer system.

Load up that video, and skip to the four-minute mark.

What you see is an MSX and Sharp X1 sequel called 3-D Bomberman. As Gifford notes — and I assure you he is not exaggerating — the game is god damn terrifying.

Imagine that you’re a Japanese kid in the early 1980s. You’ve saved up enough allowance money to buy a sequel to one of your favorite games, Bomber Man. You pay your 4,000 yen or whatever through mail order, and six to eight weeks later, it arrives in the mail late in the afternoon.

Your parents are insistent that you finish your homework before playing the game. But you’re so far behind on your work — possibly because you’ve spent the past six to eight weeks daydreaming in class about 3-D Bomberman — that it ends up taking you the rest of the day to complete your math worksheets. By the time you’re finished, you’ve already eaten dinner and it’s time for bed.

Late at night, unable to sleep, you sneak out of bed and quietly boot up your MSX to play 3-D Bomberman.

Instantly, your anticipation turns to dread. The spartan graphics and minimalist sound effects conspire to make you feel terror like you’ve never felt before in your young life.

The game’s mechanics are foreign and confusing. Walls surround you at every turn. You run through a long hallway, only to be trapped in a corner at the end. You place a bomb to destroy the wall and run several paces back, aware that any mistake will bring your life to a quick end.

Your computer monitor provides the only light in your room. The game’s inescapable mazes are all that you can see. Outside, the crickets have stopped chirping. You sense something is wrong. In the game, you hear a faint beeping noise, and then —

You are dead.

How Dog Police Changed Gaming Forever

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

“80’s video about the dog police,” this video’s description reads. “pure gold.”

I agree. Since I was informed of its existence a couple of years back, I’ve tried to introduce as many people as possible to the glory that is the song “Dog Police,” by the band Dog Police, off the album Dog Police.

Results have been mixed. Some people have loved it. Some have reacted to it by simply screaming for three minutes. Still others forget it exists until months later, when the chorus suddenly lodges itself in their heads while they’re mowing the lawn, after which it proceeds to loop morning, noon, and night for many days straight.

The Dog Police are wondrous creatures, for sure. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I found out that they were the stars of a television pilot featuring goddamn Adam Sandler of all people.

Yes, the song’s in there too, in slightly modified form. Why the change? Well, a helpful YouTube comment (something that by all means should not exist) points out that the original Dog Police lyrics totally rip off The Electric Company’s “Spider-Man.” And…well, yeah. Actually, they do.

(It’s worth noting that the television adaptation takes liberties with long-established Dog Police canon by giving the Dog Police psychic powers. Also, they’re from outer space. The Dog Police themselves have since described the show as taking place in an alternate universe, explaining any discrepancies.)

But I’m getting off track. My point in all this? Listen to the voice they gave the narrator, Bowser, and tell me if it doesn’t sound a little familiar.

Now consider that Bowser is a dog detective with a voice similar to Sam Spade’s. He wears a coat, a tie, and a jaunty hat.

I’m just saying, is all.

Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell claims that he came up with the characters in his childhood, but these memories could very well have been secretly implanted by the Dog Police. This is the truth I choose to believe, anyway. It’s unknown what role McGruff the Crime Dog plays in the conspiracy, as he and the Dog Police came into existence at almost the exact same time. Hmm.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Dog Police, check your local library, or buy the MP3 single from Amazon. Trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Geometry Wars and the Secret Nazis

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I ran into a somewhat, ah, unique problem while writing up an article about Geometry Wars: Touch being released for the iPhone today. The screenshot above, cropped slightly, is what you see when you pull the game up in the App Store.

When it’s automatically resized using the “medium” setting in WordPress, though, you end up with this:

I chose to use a different screenshot.

Bears on the Down Low

Friday, June 11th, 2010

As a big fan of sex slang, it always makes me happy when I see something like this happen.

This is why it’s a good idea to search the Internet for your proposed company name before committing to anything. Not only will you easily be able to find out if the name is already taken, but you might also avoid naming yourself after something like this. That’s the very first Google search result for the phrase, by the way.

Frankly, these bears aren’t even very good at keeping it on the down low.

Related: a few months back, this banner ad made my day.

Next time you have a zombie problem, well, now you know how to fix it.

iPhone Game of the Day: Cassandra’s Journey: Legacy of Nostradamus

Monday, June 7th, 2010

“Avallon Alliance, today proudly announce a great update to adventure and puzzle game ‘Cassandra’s Journey: Legacy of Nostradamus HD’. It is available for purchase and update at the AppStore for iPad. ‘Cassandra’s Journey: The Legacy of Nostradamus HD’ is your ticket to the world of magic and adventures. Rich world of magical trinkets looks even more splendid on iPad!

Cassandra would like to follow in her grandmother’s fortune-telling footsteps and with the spirit of mysterious Nostradamus takes a trip, searching for the lost Ring. They meet diverse characters, visit beautiful locations, accomplish a lot of tasks and gradually find a surprising solution to the main riddle. Adventures take place in middle-ages and present time.”

It’s getting to the point where I can glance at an e-mail subject line and instantly identify a hidden object game, saving me the time it would take to read further. This particular app isn’t just a hidden object game, though! It’s also a match-three puzzler.

Give me two minutes and I bet I could come up some really good titles for hidden object games. Here goes:

  • Egypt Mystery: Legend of the Pharaoh
  • Aztec Legends: Journey of Fate
  • Secret Societies: Mystical Wonders
  • Lindsay’s Quest: Lands Beyond Time
  • Wonders of Power: Gem Incantations
  • Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner (oh wait)
  • Ethereal Place: Noun of Historical Figure
  • Waterfall Village: Kelsey’s Misty Travels

Oop, time’s up. Please contact me if you’d like to license any of these titles for your hidden object game for grandmas.

Xbox Live Indie Games: Protect Me Knight

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I’ve been talking about old games a lot on this site, which concerns me a little. I don’t just play old games. I also play new old games.

The bottomless pit of bewilderment that is the Xbox Live Indie Games service for the Xbox 360 recently saw the release of the best new old game I’ve played since Streemerz RearmedProtect Me Knight. If you haven’t bought it already, you should do so right now. It’s $3, and it’s great.

(For some reason, it’s listed in the U.S. store under its Japanese title — まもって騎士 — so you’ll need to sort the Indie Games category by title and scroll down to the bottom to find it. You can also queue up a remote download from its marketplace page.)

Protect Me Knight is the first XBL Indie Game from Ancient, a small studio managed by game soundtrack composer Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, Etrian Odyssey, Ys…and, like, a billion other games). The premise is summed up on the title screen: “DEFEAT F$%KIN’ GOBLINS!” Choosing one of four characters, you’ll spend ten stages carving your way through thousands of monsters who want to get all up in your princess.

Protect Me Knight has been described as a tower defense game, but that’s inaccurate, because it’s not totally boring. It plays more like a mix of Rampart, Gauntlet, and…I don’t know, Arkista’s Ring, or something. There’s a minimum amount of strategy involved in fortifying your defenses, but you’ll spend the bulk of your time doing fun stuff like beating up monsters, upgrading your character’s stats, and racking up huge combos.

Be warned: Protect Me Knight is only at its most fun when you have more than one person playing. The difficulty scales to suit how many people are playing, and the action gets intense when you’ve got a three- or four-player co-op game going.

The game’s still a whole lot of fun even with just two people, but if you don’t have anyone else to play with, you’re not going to get a lot of mileage out of the single-player mode. It’s still fun, mind. It’s just not super insane fun, like it is with two players or more.