Posts Tagged minigames

Frankie Goes to Hollywood Bits

frankieheader Frankie Goes to Hollywood Bits

“I have the license to Frankie Goes to Hollywood!”

How exactly do you respond to that? Well, apparently by making a surreal adventure game.

frankietitle1 Frankie Goes to Hollywood Bits

FGTH's title screen, complete with some odd algebra.

The bits:

  • The game was created with a unique approach as it didn’t star the band’s members or have much to do with music. Instead, it was a somewhat psychedelic romp based off of the cover art for the band’s albums.
  • FGTH’s protagonist is, quite literally, a shade of a man. Inspired by the band’s logo, the player takes on this persona and embarks on a quest to become a “real person.” Incidentally, this premise also served as a nice cover for the ZX Spectrum’s colour limitations.

    frankiewindow Frankie Goes to Hollywood Bits

    Some of the first windows and icon-based inventories in videogame history.

  • The game starts off with the player stumbling upon a murder, which — in a somewhat positive twist — actually gives the protagonist hope of becoming an interesting (i.e., real) individual. Being interesting is also the prerequisite for entering “The Pleasuredome,” the overall goal of the game.
  • Much like Clue, solving the murder mystery involves gathering evidence and eliminating suspects. Making correct deductions increases one of the player’s main statistics: sex, war, love and religion. Each one of these is a reference to the band’s albums, and is used to indicate how interesting the shade has become.
  • The four icons representing sex, war, love and religion are a pair of sperm, a missile, a heart and a cross. Each one is accompanied by a vertical bar on the right side of the screen.
  • FGTH contains various surreal minigames — such as a game of Breakout where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev spit projectiles at each other — that can be played to increase the shade’s interest-level.
  • The highest possible score in the game is 99%, accentuating the fact that no one’s ever really perfect.

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Retro Game Challenge is so Meta

rgs11 Retro Game Challenge is so Meta

Indeed.

I first heard about GameCenter CX in the now defunct 1up Show where, in episode 0711, Ray Barnholt expressed his fondness for the quirky program.

GameCenter CX is hosted by the comedian Shinya Arino and revolves around him — with the occasional help of his staff — playing through classic old videogames. It’s a simple concept, but one that apparently stuck a chord with the public. The show is into its tenth season in Japan, and there’s even been some attempts to bring it to the West as Retro Game Master. It also got its own videogame release, GameCenter CX: Arino’s Challenge, but, unlike the show, that one has been released on this side of the pond.

Retro Game Challenge is a Nintendo DS title with a somewhat cute but ridiculous premise: an evil version of Shinya Arino sends you back in time to play various 8-bit videogames with his younger and friendlier self. The catch here is that these games never existed.

Read the rest of this entry »

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