The Making of Karateka (Journals 1982-1985) by Jordan Mechner

Reading a non-fiction book and knowing things about the author that haven’t happened yet is an interesting experience.

The Making of Karateka is a collection of hand-written journals captured by Jordan Mechner that span from 1982-1985. The first few entries set the scene of Mechner’s life. In the beginning of the journal, Mechner is a 17-year-old Yale freshman with many interests. He loves music and films, but has also been busy programming games on his Apple II computer. Mechner has been shopping around his first game (an Asteroids clone) to publishers without much success, and has placed all his hopes on a new game he’s developing called Deathbounce, which is an Asteroids-like game with some original twists.

As the journal moves through Mechner’s freshman year we read about the typical struggles of a college freshman. Sometimes he focuses on his programming, sometimes he dreams of becoming a novelist or screenwriter, and often, he sleeps through his classes and wonders how he’ll pull out passing grades. During these entries, Mechner works out what he believes are the principles of fun games, and continues to inspire himself. He finds a little success with some of his programs, but not the huge success he dreams of.


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Mischief Maker’s Top 10 Unique Games

One of the biggest joys of indie gaming is the creative freedom bedroom programmers have to try crazy new ideas or genre-blends that no AAA developer would dare gamble their multi-million-dollar operations on. Here’s a list of some of the more unique games of recent years that offer something you probably haven’t experienced before.

1. Battle Chef Brigade

A silly mix of the brawler, platformer, and match-3 gem puzzler genres in a fantasy version of Iron Chef Japan.

Judges challenge you and your opponent to cook up a dish made from a certain monster and heavily emphasizing some combination of flavor. Then you rush from the kitchen into a monster-infested platforming arena where you must find and slay creatures whose randomly-dropped body parts have the flavor profile you seek. Then you dash back to the kitchen where the ingredients are converted into patterns of gems, whose color correspond to a different flavor, and you mix them in a pan by stirring them (rotating 4 gems in a square area) into lines of 3 gems that combine to a higher grade of gem. Get the highest total score from number and quality of gems in the dish while emphasizing the Judge’s requested flavor and you win!

As the game goes on things get more complicated. Monsters need to be fed in the field so they produce special ingredients, some ingredients have fragile gems that break if stirred too much, some monsters have poison gems that explode from stirring but can be neutralized and provide a free gem promotion if you manage to match 3 fast enough. To counter the challenge, you accumulate equipment to even the odds like weapons that improve your special moves, spices and sauces to tilt the match-3 in your favor, cutting boards to remove unwanted gems, and ovens that slowly process ingredients on their own while you’re out fighting in the field.

The game also has a unique graphic style; the animations have a relatively low number of frames, but the sprites are extremely detailed. This can be a problem for timing your dodges with certain monsters (dragons). The music is orchestral with a chipper feel, and the cutscenes are fully and competently voice-acted.

You get a story mode and plenty of aftergame content like custom matches, daily challenges, and a roguelite survival mode. While the main game is played almost entirely by the ninja-style Chinese food chef, the aftergame modes can also be played by the berserker-style Mexican food chef, and the necromancer-style junk food chef.

2. Seven: The Days Long Gone

Bummed that Cyberpunk 2077’s been delayed again? Check out Seven: The Days Long Gone for the taste of a CD Projekt Red-esque action RPG set in an open-world sci-fi dystopia, crossed with the game Assassin’s Creed SHOULD have been. In other words, lots and lots of parkour Benny Hill chases in a morally ambiguous open world where NPCs use curse words all the FOOKING time.

In a post-AI-rebellion-apocalypse world, you play a cyborg thief who during a routine burglary has his bionic eye hijacked by an ancient AI, then wakes up in chains on a Zeppelin being shipped to the prison island/archaeological gold rush of “Peh” for what the AI tells you is a secret mission for THE EMPRAH. Developer Fool’s Theory is made up of several Witcher devs, so the controls are very similar to Witcher 3, albeit fixed in an overhead isometric perspective. Like Assassin’s Creed you can freely leap, climb, and rappel through the surprisingly vertical environments of Peh, but unlike AC you have to actually aim and time your jumps instead of just holding down the “play the game for me” button. Your bionic eye allows you to enter detective mode at will, highlighting hiding spots, uncovering hidden treasures when moused-over, revealing the vision cone of a particular guard, and best of all, something that should be in ALL stealth games, you can fast forward time while waiting for a guard to turn their back.

As a prison island, Peh is an unpleasant and restrictive place with security gates everywhere. Graphics are cel-shaded, but with much more detailed textures than that usually implies. Music varies between twangy guitar in the populated areas and mysterious ambient in the ruins. The color pallette is your standard post-apocalyptic brown, and future tech is indicated by concrete structures with pulsing light leaking out through the seams that reminds me of Old Man Murray’s Marvin-from-the-future talking about working a construction job laying a futuristic type of drywall.

But all this aesthetic ugliness works to the game’s advantage because it accentuates the game’s experience of saying, “fuck the quarantine rules, I go where I want.” While you CAN legally buy visas for all the island’s security checkpoints, the absurd prices make it clear buying them’s a chump’s game when you can just as easily climb and sneak your way past for free. Likewise, just like Monty Cantsin said in his Morrowind review that Elder Scrolls-type open world games give you the irresistible urge to barge into people’s houses and steal everything not nailed down, Seven rewards that urge with its extensive crafting system, where even a broken lightbulb can be turned into a generic “tech component” to help craft a kickass techno-crossbow (protip: only break down items the game makes clear are busted or rotten, you’re gonna need those metal rivets and polymer forms for certain recipes). The game doesn’t have an XP system, instead rewarding exploration with caches of cyber-chips to install and higher-grade levels of equipment. While ostensibly you’re playing a thief, by late game with the right cyberware and weapons you can be a melee powerhouse doing aerial ninja throws.

A thoroughly enjoyable anti-authoritarian experience!

3. Thea 2: The Shattering

Somewhere between “King of Dragon Pass,” the strategy portion of “XCom,” and the early game of “Civilization” lies Thea 2, a story-heavy kinda-4X kinda-RPG game taking place in a fantasy world heavily based off Slavic mythology.

It’s not necessary to play Thea 1, this game does a good job filling in the story gaps, and I wouldn’t recommend part 1 anyway because of several gameplay flaws part 2 fixes. Suffice to say after a fantasy apocalypse that drenched the world in darkness, the heroes of the first game restored the world tree and put the world on the slow path to recovery. But in Thea 2 an apocalyptic explosion of light from underground has shattered the world into separate continents, scrambled the pantheon of gods, and threatens to tear the world of Thea apart. You play one of the new pantheon of gods, with your own particular blessings and story events, leading a tribe of survivors lead by your chosen prophet on a grand quest to survive in this dangerous world and put a stop to this cancerous light.

The game controls very much like a 4X game, with the world broken up into hexes, and your people only able to move a certain number of hexes per turn. In between turns you have the option of setting up camp where you can heal wounds, craft equipment, and gather nearby resources. Your people have classes, attributes, open skill trees, and a “paper doll” equipment system. Both on the world map and the resting phase, you’ll run into various story encounters with multiple paths to take “choose your own adventure”-style. When it’s time for a skill check, you play a 3-dimensional card battle game (2D board, with time as the 3rd dimension indicated by an action initiative bar on the side). Depending on the type of encounter, the skills and attack power of characters change; a heavily armored warrior may be a powerhouse in combat, but utterly useless in a negotiation, yet vice-versa for a bookish sage. Thea 2 allows you to play a character multiple times in a combat round at the cost of fewer actions, a big improvement over Thea 1 because it rewards specializing your characters. Like X-Com, you’re constantly fighting to get your teammates equipped with the best equipment to keep pace as the difficulty of world encounters increases over time. Also like X-Com your characters can get killed or cursed or otherwise screwed up by the Random Number Generator, but the game is designed to fill in team gaps with new characters as needed to keep the story going, and sometimes a bad encounter can turn into an unexpected boon as per the trailer.

Aesthetically the 3D map is unremarkable, but the hand-drawn art for character portraits and encounters is beautiful and detailed. All the text in the game is voice-narrated. While it follows the same story beats every play through, most long exposition events give you a dialog option to skip the story and get to the point. The music is a cross between Slavic folk songs and epic marches.

At turns unexpectedly interesting and funny, with an abstract but deep combat system, and an absorbing sense of escalating power with both planned and procedural story moments in equal measure. Thea 2 is not just an unusual blend of genres, it’s its own beast and I love it.

4. Kromaia

Despite owning the game for years and the developer coming to the forum to try to explain it to me, I still don’t feel like I fully “get” this game’s loop, but it’s definitely a unique experience so I’ll give it my best try.

Kromaia is like a cross between a Descent-style 6 degrees of freedom shooter, the classic rail-shooter/marital-aid “Rez,” and the procedurally evolving freeware shmup Warning Forever. It takes place in an abstract Tron-esque world of zero gravity polygons. You are a spirit flying a star fighter through this world at the behest of an imprisoned god, bringing vengeance upon her four rivals.

There are four different types of fighter (plus an unlockable fifth type) with different weapon systems and background music/color, and slightly different handling. Each story level is a maze of vaguely Mayan ruins, techno forests, particle colliders, and other bizarre locations populated by increasingly frenzied swarms of enemies as you explore for collectibles, pick up keys, and ultimately fight a screen-filling 3D boss with individual parts that must be shot off before the core is vulnerable. But the part of the game I prefer to story is the “Extra” mode where you fly at high speed through an enormous asteroid-choked arena through gate after gate while hounded by enemy swarms whose composition and tactics are procedurally adapting to your play style the whole time.

I’d describe the game’s aesthetic as an oversized Atari 800 game. From the abstract cuboid shapes of the enemies and arenas to the sound samples in the soundtrack, it’s all very evocative of a particular moment in 80s gaming at its trippiest. Between the ambient electronic droning, the enormous bloom-soaked floating arenas, and the incomprehensible story, it’s a dreamlike experience.

The odd thing about this game that distinguishes it from a regular Descent clone is how regular enemies move and attack. Even though you have free movement, they only attack from the front and will follow your turns with incredible speed to slide into your front view, making this free-roaming game nevertheless play like a rail-shooter. There’s also an odd wrinkle with mouse controls that I don’t know if it’s a bug or a feature (because the ship handling in this game is done via physics simulation but ships turn way faster with tiny mouse movements than rapid moves. Some bosses do the whole “stay in front” movement, but others tend to envelop you like they’re a level unto themselves. (Protip: the F1-F3 keys switch between camera zooms, and some are better for certain ships than others).

It’s weird, I don’t know if I’m playing it right, but it’s definitely cool, especially if you have a soft spot for the Atari 800.

5. Steamworld Heist

An entire subgenre of gaming has been created in the wake of Firaxis’ remake of X-Com, especially learning to deal with getting F’ed by the random number generator when your 92% chance shot misses at the worst possible time. But what would the tactical combat of X-Com be like if you replaced the simulated dice with a test of the player’s skill and reflexes instead?

It’s the distant future of the 1890s, Earth has been exploded and the resulting debris field is populated by sentient steampunk robots, fighting over sources of water to keep their boilers functional. You play a thief-with-a-heart-of-gold pirate captain whose buccaneering ways gets her and her crew wrapped up in a three way war for control of the shattered earth. All while following the insterstellar tour of the real-life steambot indie band who wrote and perform the OST. This game is indie squared!

Missions take place on randomly-generated side-scrolling multi-platform stages. Units have 2 action points and automatically duck behind cover. However unlike X-Com, there are no dice involved. You manually aim the barrel of your robot’s gun (with some slight wobble) ala. “Bust-a-Move” and the bullet moves as a physical projectile in the direction you pointed. If it hits a piece of cover it’s blocked, if you manage to fire at just the right moment to hit the corner of your enemy’s sprite poking out from behind the barrel they’re crouching behind, you hit. Head shots have a 50% chance to do extra damage. Sniper-class robots have laser sights and ricocheting bullets, allowing them to pull off ridiculous bouncing trick shots if you time your firing just right. It’s X-Com meets snooker!

Unlike X-Com, none of your robots suffer permadeath and any mission can be replayed at will, though the layout of the level will change. As your robots level up (max level 10) they gain secondary skills that change their battle roles considerably. Ivansky the Heavy becomes a near-invincible tank, drawing enemy fire away from his comrades before counter-attacking with a cover-destroying grenade then walloping survivors with his supercharged close combat attacks, while Beatrice the Heavy becomes a stationary artillery monster, pounding enemies to paste with bazooka fire. Note that New Game+ gives you all the previously unlocked robots from the very start at level 1, so if you already have a team of four who you like, you don’t need to feel obligated to grind levels for the new blood.

Note that this game was originally made for the 3DS and the console-friendly controls lean way more heavily on keyboard control than mouse, which could be a positive or negative for you. The aesthetic is crisp cartoonish robots with vaguely-western vaguely-sci-fi music playing in the background by the aforementioned indie band “Steam Powered Giraffe.” Very Firefly.

Looking for X-Com esque tactical combat in bite-sized chunks where you don’t have a Random Number Generator to mess you up/blame for your own bad aim? Steamworld Heist is an easy recommend.

6. Desktop Dungeons

Speaking of bite-sized chunks, Desktop Dungeons is a minesweeper-esque puzzle game that delivers the experience of leveling and fighting your way from novice to defeating the mightiest Foozle, all in the span of a single coffee break.

Just as Seven is a game built around the inevitable kleptomania players develop in open world games, Desktop Dungeons celebrates the act of playing RPGs at its most min-maxing stat-whoring rules-lawyering munchkin level. The level is divided into a square grid covered in fog of war and each tile you uncover restores a little health and mana for both you and any injured enemies in the area. Gameplay is entirely turn-based, enemies do no act except in retaliation to your actions, and combat results are mostly determinative with no RNG. You’ll quickly find that brainlessly slaying monsters of equal level to you wears out your HP and Mana faster than you can recover it by exploring. If you want to level up quick and efficiently enough to be able to take on the big boss, you’ll need to make crafty use of spells and equipment to punch above your weight against higer level enemies for an XP boost. As later dungeons increase the challenge level, you’ll start to use counter-intuitive techniques, like leaving behind low-level “popcorn” enemies who can be harmlessly killed off later for an easy levelup (which fully refills health and mana) mid-boss-battle. Even later you’ll unlock the ability to worship temperamental gods who grant powerful blessings but place severe restrictions on your actions, then learn the technique of building up generic “faith points” with one god, then switching religions mid-dungeon to do the previously forbidden actions and instantly unlock the most powerful blessings of your new god. It’s meta-riffic!

(Here’s a link to the wiki. You’ll need it).

Aside from a couple animated particle effects, Desktop Dungeons is a still image affair, with large expressive portraits for your character and all the monsters. It can easily run in a window on your desktop like a game of minesweeper. The music is a rousing orchestral march. One thing I personally don’t like with the aesthetics is this game comes from the “golden age” of indies, and there was an obnoxious amount of cross-promotion in games of this time, so one of the most common monsters in the early game is literally Super Meat Boy.

It’s short and sweet and tiny, but it can also be brain-bustingly difficult. Makes for a hell of a coffee break.

7. Space Pirates and Zombies 2

I never understood the success of the original Space Pirates and Zombies, there are so many games that did asteroids-style Newtonian physics combat with customized spaceships so much better. But Space Pirates and Zombies 2 came along and it’s a bigger, more ambitious, and massively improved game with most of the tedium removed or made optional, and the fanbase hated it.

SPAZ 2 is a spaceship customizing action RPG taking place in a living world galaxy coming under attack by a biomechanical zombie plague similar to The Beast from Homeworld Cataclysm. You start out the lowliest captain in the galaxy with a barely functional ship made from junk, but by the end of the game you’ll be the leader of a mighty faction with dozens of captains under your banner, flying a monstrously deadly dreadnought of your own design. But unlike other space games where you go from pauper to Emprah, SPAZ2 never shifts genres into a management game or an RTS; all that galactic conquest is directly in service to the core loop of grabbing the best quality parts, building a spaceship with it piece-by-piece, then bringing it into battle.

Combat in SPAZ 2 takes place in 3rd person on a 2D plane like Rebel Galaxy, but with much smarter AI turret logic. Your fleet consists of your customizable mothership and an escort of up to four strike craft (which includes every ship type from SPAZ 1), and the ability to switch to direct control over any ship in your fleet. What really makes SPAZ 2 unique is instead of slotting weapon systems into an existing ship model, your ship is built piece-by-piece like a Lego creation. Cubic squares form the innards of the ship and provide its base stats while outer edge parts provide the weaponry. The handling of your ship is based on the physics of its shape, with the “bridge” cube acting as center of mass. You really need a plan of attack when you build your ship, a “jack of all trades” design does not survive in the late game. But the cool thing is with these ships made of individual parts, ramming maneuvers are the most satisfying of any space game. While battlefleet gothic just has your ship awkwardly bump into the enemy for a couple seconds until the enemy suddenly explodes, a well-aimed ramming in SPAZ 2 can literally rip the enemy’s ship in half.

Unfortunately all this modularity does not make for the prettiest spaceships. At best you could say a SPAZ 2 mothership looks like the Cygnus from Disney’s The Black Hole if all the mirror-faced cyborgs were throwing a ship-wide rave with Maximilian as DJ. The developers lean into the game’s absurd visuals with all other space captains looking like characters from a sci-fi edition of the Garbage Pail Kids, with insane voice acting to match. The bombastic orchestral soundtrack seems misplaced next to all that intentional silliness. On a personal note, I find the voice actor for Carl your mad scientist hilarious.

At its core SPAZ 2 is just as much the game about grinding as SPAZ 1, but the loop is way less repetitive. Boring mining missions are present but totally optional, it’s mostly going to be combat. But the type of combat evolves as you go up in power level, from scavenging leftovers when assisting stronger ships in battles against bandits, to taking down bandit bases yourself, to fighting enemy factions so you can expand your empire and improve the type and quality of parts manufactured on your bases, to taking the fight to the zombie alpha directly. Slow and steady wins the race in SPAZ 2, but steady doesn’t mean samey.

There’s not another space game that gives you this amount of control over the design of your ship, and this amount of focus in its other systems all leading back to the building of your custom ship.

8. Yoku’s Island Express

I know I already mentioned this game in my earlier Chill Games List, but the all-powerful algorithm likes top 10 lists, and this certainly fits the bill as a unique game. A pinball metroidvania!

You play a dung beetle tethered to a giant pinball who arrives at a magical tropical island to be its new postmaster, only to arrive at the exact moment a horrible ancient evil called the “godslayer” critically wounds the island’s patron god. The island’s leader tasks you with tracking down all the island’s elders to perform a magic ritual to heal the injured god, but you can’t help but feel like the godslayer is watching you the whole time.

Yoku rolls his ball around with the arrow keys for normal movement, but throughout the game world are color-coded flippers (blue for left, orange for right) that you activate with the shift keys, sending the ball flying with the virtually weightless beetle dangling behind. Not only are flippers used for faster travel in the world map, but the major puzzles and boss battles in the game take place in complete unique pinball tables. I remember a time when a full-price pinball game gave you at most 3 tables. There isn’t a scoring system per se, but bumpers spit out fruits in bubbles that act as the island’s currency. In true Metroidvania fashion, throughout the game you pick up new tools that let you do things like blow up obstructions, swim underwater, and grapple-swing to access new areas.

The game is presented in vividly colorful sprites with a fun jazzy soundtrack, but there’s some seriously contextually enhanced creepiness with the godslayer as you suddenly encounters nests of murdered infant bunnies and see the jagged mark left on its victims by the godslayer’s horrible claws.

If you like pinball, you’ll like this game. I’ve 100%’ed it several times but it’s as fun to replay as a favorite pinball table.

9. The Last Federation

AI War is the game Arcen Games is most known for, but I’m not very good at it and it has imitators (Infested Planet, Sorcerer King, etc.) so instead I’ll talk about their second most successful title.

In the middle of a massively complex Crusader Kings-esque 4X simulation between 7 alien factions out to kill each other, you play the last survivor of a higher race of aliens dipping in and interfering with their development for the purpose of bringing the entire star system under the lasting peace of a unified multi-species federation. So essentially you’re Merlin the Magician uniting Britain IN SPACE!

On one hand the 4X is playing itself so you only need to pay attention to a few of the moving parts at a time, on the other hand once you wrap your head around the complexities, the amount of options for you become staggering. One race is being attacked and losing the battle, how do you intervene and save them? You could take the direct route and fight off the attacking fleet directly with your superior combat skillz (more on that later), but that would majorly piss off the attacking side and leave them vulnerable to a counterattack by a third party. OR you could use your influence to massively speed up fleet production for the side under attack, angering nobody, making money for yourself, endearing yourself to the besieged side, and when the conflict ends in a stalemate you get to clean up the battle debris, one of the most profitable activities in the game! You only have to dive into the complexity as much as you want, but the more you dig in, the more Machiavellian the options get.

And you’re gonna need to be Machiavellian because the alien races are the most uncooperative bickering pain-in-the-asses. Each race has their own personality and governmental structure. Say you want to the Boaraines to start a trade route with the Skylaxians to passively improve their relations over time, that’s not gonna happen if the current Boaraine regent is an isolationist who won’t even consider the option. Dare you risk an assassination? The communist Peltians have no interest in your cash bribes and will only follow your suggestions if you spend lots of time directly helping their development, then turn around and use the advantage you gave them with all those good deeds to start a carpet-bombing campaign against the Evucks. And the savage Burlusts are constantly going to war, spreading hate, and generally being destructive assholes, but if you patiently cultivate your relations with them they can instantly start a 3-way Federation between some of the strongest factions in the system. And then once you have the start of a federation, anti-federation groups pop up to mess with your plans! And if you put off the Federation for too long, there are super-weapons waiting at the apex of each species’ tech tree that will cause absolute havok.

Combat is another unique aspect of the game. The best way to describe it is, “turn-based bullet hell.” You drag a line for your ship’s intended path, then pick which of your 3 weapon systems will fire and which target, kinda like Battlestar Galactica Deadlock or Critical Mass. But enemy ships don’t directly fire back in kind, they shoot danmaku-esque patterns of bullets, like cross shapes and splitting bullets and so on. It’s impossible to avoid all bullets and your shield can absorb a few, but blunder into the thickest part of an enemy bullet pattern and you’re gonna be hurting. It doesn’t sound like it would work but it actually works really well, even in high-speed dogfights.

Aesthetically I think the music’s great, but that’s about it. The presentation is mostly still images of planets with rows and rows of choose your own adventure buttons across them. Also for a game so dependent on it’s story and the personality of its factions, the in-game lore is shockingly sparse. You need to watch the story video I linked for this article because for some reason the in-game lore barely explains any of this.

This game is the most fun I’ve ever had in any game that promised me Machiavellian maneuvering. If you can get past the production values you’ll find there’s a reason this is such a sleeper hit.

10. Speed Brawl

Like Kromaia, this was a game that baffled me when I first played it, but unlike that game I now understand Speed Brawl. It’s entirely the developers’ fault, though. As they admitted to me, in their rush to generate social media buzz in the fighting game community with “hidden techniques” they went overboard and left out core game mechanics. So this is going to be as much a beginner’s guide as a mini-review.

The premise is you’re a participant in a pit-fighting tournament in a steampunk Victorian England in the aftermath of a war against cartoon versions of the bugs from Starship Troopers. Speed Brawl is the new sensation where fighters must punch their way through a swarm of corralled bugs and reach the finish line in time. You’re a spunky pair of fighters looking to prove their worth in the arena, cue typical sports management storyline with over-the-top Saturday morning cartoon villains.

It’s a 2D side-scrolling brawler where you get locked by invisible walls at several points in the track and have to kill all the bugs who stand in your way as quickly as possible. While SB controls like a typical brawler, it plays totally differently. Shoulder slams from hitting the dash button do equivalent damage to a punch, but when you hold down the dash button for half a second, your character flashes yellow for a big damage boost, and if you keep holding for another split second you’ll flash red for a massive damage boost, far more time-efficient than comboing an enemy with regular attacks from a standstill. This is the game’s momentum system. But if you dash by kicking off a wall (and invisible walls at the arena’s edge count), or spinning from a pole, you instantly yellow flash and can reach red in half the time. What this results in is a Tony-Hawk-esque experience of finding the perfect “lines” through stage layouts to pinball your fighter around and do the most damage in the least amount of time. You also have stamina-fueled special attacks that do consistent damage regardless of your momentum, so they can be used to keep your line going through empty portions of the map. Once I figured out the arena-exploiting nature of the combat, it quickly became one of my favorite brawlers.

There are 6 player characters in total you unlock over the course of the game, 3 light 3 heavy, and you bring 2 into every match with the ability to tag-team at will. Light fighters move the fastest and their special moves and ultimates are devoted to crowd control of weaklings, but heavies start slow but get faster and faster the higher the combo goes and their special moves tend to focus fire on a narrow area for heavier damage against a single target. Between matches there’s an equipment system whose console-friendly controls unfortunately requires 2-3 more button presses just to equip a goddamn pair of boots then necessary. The game has an elemental damage system that’s way more complicated than necessary, but in practice it’s just a passive way to nudge the player into using characters other than your two favorites (instead of taking your poison-based main character into this stage of just poison enemies, why not give the new fire-based guy a try?)

Graphics are hand-drawn 2D sprites, and music is Saturday morning cartoon rock. I don’t like the protagonist’s default “Goku with tits” look, but later patches added an alternate costume that makes her look like a roller-derby lesbian, the most bad ass combatant imaginable.

It’s a game that requires you to abandon most of your fighting game muscle memory to do it right, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a bone-crunching good time!

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Mischief Maker

A Look at the Commodore 64 Mini

If the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, the greatest trick marketing executives ever pulled was convincing consumers to purchase the same things over and over. For example, in my lifetime I’ve purchased five copies of AC/DC’s Back in Black — once on vinyl, once on cassette, once on CD, once on iTunes, and, most recently, again on vinyl. Ten years from now if they figure out a way to beam music directly into our brains, I’m sure I’ll buy a sixth copy. Hells Bells, baby.

I’m not sure there’s a form of entertainment that milks their customer base harder than the video game industry. Year after year and decade after decade, gaming heavyweights like Nintendo, Sega, and Sony continue to sell us virtual versions of the exact same games we purchased (in some cases) more than three decades ago. None of us who owned a Nintendo back in the 1980s could have predicted that the hottest holiday gift thirty years later would be the Nintendo Classic — a miniature version of the NES that plays the exact same games we grew up with.

But before I owned my first NES (and long after I sold it) I owned a Commodore 64, a machine I have fond memories of to this day. It was the computer I discovered BBSes on, wrote programs on, and of course, played a never ending stream of games on. By the time 16-bit computers and consoles hit the market many Commodore 64 games felt and looked dated, but nostalgia is a powerful drug. Even though I still own the Commodore 64 I grew up with (and an SX-64, and a Commodore 128, and a couple of spares, and a bevy of devices that can accurately emulate the Commodore 64’s innards including a MiST FPGA, a Raspberry Pi, tablets, and laptops), when I saw the C64 Mini, I ordered one anyway.

Like all of the “mini” consoles that have been released to date, including the Atari Flashback, Nintendo’s NES and SNES miniature consoles, and Sony’s PlayStation Classic, the C64 Mini is, if nothing else, cute. The machine is approximately half as deep and half as wide as the original; even as the largest of the current wave of mini consoles, it’s still adorable. The case’s unique dual brown tones, even if they aren’t 100% accurate, clearly identify the machine as a descendant of the original 64. A closer inspection of the case reveals a few of the system’s upgrades: RCA video has been replaced with HDMI, the two 9-pin joystick ports have been replaced with USB ports, and power, once supplied by an inefficient black brick, is now provided through a micro-USB port. For anyone unsure, the system’s keyboard is a single non-functional piece of plastic.

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Mischief Maker’s Chill Game List

Like the title says. Games to help you chill out, maaaaan.

Trine 2: The Complete Story

To this day one of the most beautiful games ever created, and yes that is also in comparison to Trine 3 and 4.

Trine 2 is a side scrolling puzzler with a heavy emphasis on its physics engine and strongly influenced by The Lost Vikings. The player controls 3 characters with varied skills who can body-switch in a blink, and fight their way through armies of nefarious goblins and mind-boggling witch’s portal-traps to solve the mystery of the talking flower. Along the way they’ll pick up hundreds of magic potions that unlock new powers in their extensive skill trees, providing new ways to fight and new tools to solve puzzles.

All of this happens in one of the most gorgeously rendered storybook-come-to-life worlds I’ve ever seen realized in video game form. I’ve long since solved the game’s puzzles, but playing it over and over is still a delight to this day, it’s that pretty.

Aven Colony

A “lite” city builder that tasks you with creating mankind’s first space colony on the nearly Earth-like moon of the gas giant Aven Prime using TNG-esque levels of technology.

It’s not all juggling power levels with food income and entertainment infrastructure. Aven Prime is teeming with life, much of it unfriendly, like giant sand worms, or floating plague spores, or more intelligent foes who need to be fought off with plasma turrets. The moon’s environment itself constantly throws curve balls, changing seasons from summer to winter in a single day and frequently having lightning and hailstorms. But despite all this the game remains imminently accessible, maybe holding your hand a little too much with constnat tutorial mini-quests that give substantial resource rewards (sandbox mode lets you play without these tutorials).

While a game like Surviving Mars shows what a claustrophobic nightmare being trapped on an Elon Musk-style Mars colony would be, I would love to live on Aven Colony. Building an entertainment center and gaining the ability to explore your creation in a 3rd person chase cam behind a hover cab is an experience that feels hopeful and optimistic in a way Star Trek hasn’t been for decades. It doesn’t hurt that the graphics really show off the Unreal Engine 4 at its absolute best.


Solitaire is a chill game, but gets kinda boring. Shadowhand is solitaire mixed with a Puzzle-Quest-style battle system and all tied around an extensive story of a young 18th century noblewoman who by chance is forced to take on the disguise of a busty highwayman and go on an alarmingly murderous rampage to save her friend and uncover a vast conspiracy. So significantly less boring.

The solitaire game is fairly simple at its core. Cards are fanned out in various piles on the table, and your job is to remove them by picking a card one point higher or lower than the current card in your hand, replacing your hand card with the one removed, keeping it going in as long a combo as you can before having to draw a new card. Longer combos give larger rewards. The combat scenarios have you and the enemy making matches from the same table of cards, with combos charging up your weapons, and longer chains add to a damage multiplier. Weapon attacks end your turn. Sometimes the card piles are locked until you find a key item buried in another pile, sometimes you and your enemy are racing to be the one to grab the healing potion buried under some piles. The game has a surprisingly deep equipment system, allowing you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent and change outfits before every match to maximize your advantage while gradually dressing your protagonist into some kind of lunatic clown pimp.

The one detail that might harsh your chill is this is solitaire at the end of the day, and a bad shuffle is a bad shuffle, even in verses battles. But the game does give you several active powers to turn the odds back in your favor, including a titular Shadowhand ability the re-scrambles the entire table. Do you want the very best Solitaire game ever made? This is it.

Tokyo 42

An isometric overhead GTA-clone taking place in an idealized sci fi Tokyo at a “Where’s Waldo?” level of zoom. In the future, death has been cured by nano-drugs that restitch people’s bodies back together in seconds, making assassination a much less despised profession. Forced into becoming a freelance hitman to get the underworld contacts necessary to clear your name of a crime you didn’t commit, Tokyo 42 is the chillest game about murder and mayhem I’ve ever played.

You move with WASD and aim with the mouse. Bullets are rendered as 3D objects and need to be lined up vertically as well as horizontally, but this game is much more forgiving than Brigador with the aiming mechanics. At any time you can rotate the camera 45 degrees to get a better angle on your target or reveal new routes to travel in. Occasionally you will get a warning that there’s a rival assassin in the crowd and you need to figure out which random passerby is about to attack. If you go on a rampage, the game has a full GTA-style star system where you’re at first attacked by cops in hover cars, later by “Ghost in-the-Shell spider tanks.

The aesthetic of the game is like Mirror’s Edge if that bright dystopia was much livelier and more inviting. The music is wonderfully immersive and very, very chill. Note that the Smaceshi’s Castles downloadable content is just a series of short puzzle missions a la the VR Missions from Metal Gear Solid on an entirely different map.

Driftland: The Magic Revival

A real time 4X game in the vein of Sins of a Solar Empire taking place on a shattered fantasy world made up of floating islands. You and your opponents are the first wizards born in a generation powerful enough to bring the floating shards together and bridge them, setting off a war to see who will be the first to rebuild and subsequently rule the world.

In addition to Sins, Driftland is influenced by the Majesty games. Your army is made up of individual hero units who you don’t control directly, but rather influence their actions by placing reward flags throughout the world. The economy is nothing like Majesty, though, none of the heroes have their own money, you’re instead balancing the limited housing each shard can support with the land-hungry farming necessary to feed them so your citizens can be put to work extracting resources used to equip your heroes with various skills to make them more potent fighters against hostile barbarians and rival kingdoms. The most powerful floating islands you can capture have nests on them where heroes can tame a flying mount ranging from a giant raven to an actual dragon (Dwarves don’t tame, they build their own flying machines). Obviously in a world of floating islands, heroes who can fly have a huge advantage.

Another game that shows off the Unreal Engine 4 at its best. Gorgeous glowing spell effects, close zoom levels that let you see a dizzying horizon of stars above the exposed planet’s core. And each of the 4 factions has their own separate musical score that changes dynamically with the action. I personally love the African Tribal sound they chose for the wood elves’ OST, reminiscent of Civilization 4. Note that there’s a big balance overhaul/expansion coming in June so aspects of this mini review may be out of date very soon.

Yoku’s Island Express

A pinball Metroidvania! You play a dung beetle tied to a huge pinball who has just been given a job as the postmaster on a magical tropical island, but just as you arrive an ancient evil called the Godslayer has critically injured the Lovecraftian deity who sustains the island. So it’s up to you to gather the island’s scattered elders to heal the deity while delivering everyone’s long-overdue letters and packages.

You can roll your ball across flat stretches dung beetle-style with the arrow keys, but the island is dotted with color-coded flippers everywhere that flip automatically when you hit the corresponding shift key, sending the ball flying with your effectively weightless beetle dangling behind it. Your primary mode of travel will be bouncing your way through ramps and other obstacles behind your ball. The entire island is basically a giant pinball table!

The game is rendered in bright colors with a peppy soundtrack as you bounce and slide your way through its delightful environs. Unfortunately most of the distinct “tables” in the game are solved by shattering their targets, not leaving much room for repeat play in a single session. But this is a game I’ve 100%’ed many times, and replaying it doesn’t get any more old than replaying a favorite pinball cabinet. (Protips: some flippers are hidden in the background and only revealed when you flip them, and the noise maker can explode nearby slugs. You’ll thank me later!)

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Mischief Maker

Recent Cyberpunk Games for the PC

#1 is still Satellite Reign. A modern re-imagining of Syndicate that nails the rain-soaked Blade Runner vibe. My one complaint about the game is all the action takes place in corporate parking lots, you won’t get into any firefights on the gorgeous streets unless you seriously fuck up.

#2 is Ruiner. If you want the combination of cyberpunk and horror promised by Observer’s trailer, Ruiner delivers, albeit in a way that’s more anime + Suspiria (original) than Blade Runner + Jacob’s Ladder. It’s a modern day belt-scroller (ala. Final Fight) with heavy gunplay and lots and lots of zwee-fighting that’s a fast-paced disorienting blast to play. The main downside is the game’s “everything plus the kitchen sink” approach to abilities leaves the action a little unfocused and holds the gameplay back to “pretty good.”

#3 is Brigador. A vehicle-based isometric tactical shooter ala. those Urban Strike games from the 90s with a PHENOMENAL OST. The vibe is distinctly more John Carpenter than Ridley Scott. Main downside is an assload of unlock cancer.

Honorable Mentions:

Black Future ’88 is a side-scrolling Abuse clone rogue-lite that desperately wants to be the sci fi version of Dead Cells. The cyberpunk aesthetic and especially the soundtrack are epic. The gameplay is shockingly sedate, but that might be a good thing for some players.

Shadow Warrior 2 is a kickass FPS, superior to Doom 2016 in my book. And about a third of the missions take place in a cyberpunk city with you fighting everything from mechs to robot geishas armed with razor fans. Main downside is the crappy inventory screen, but you can totally beat the game on normal without slotting a single upgrade.

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Mischief Maker

Mischief Maker’s Top 10 Quarantine Games List!

Going stir crazy from being stuck inside all the time? Want to eat the lotus of videogames, but want only the finest curated lotus? Here’s 10 excellent games you may not have heard of, in no particular order, to take your minds off Captain Trips:

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark

For years I’ve wanted a proper clone of Final Fantasy Tactics, but everybody always fucks it up, even the official sequels! But FINALLY, 20 years after the fact, someone made a proper clone with all the mechanics and job system intact, and none of the garbage filler like FFTA’s “laws.”

Graphically it’s unimpressive but not ugly, and the maps are 2D instead of rotatable 3D, but other than that it’s everything I could want out of a modern FFT. You have a selection of 20 jobs to choose from, and the starting jobs have all the basic skills you’d want right away (like standard counterattack). Despite the 2D terrain, battles have all kinds of “Into the Breach” style unit repositioning abilities that let you do things like push an enemy who can’t swim into a water tile for an instakill.

Random battles for grinding are purely an opt-in affair, yet available on-demand, with a preview of the level of enemies you’d be facing at that particular location. Also everyone on your team gets “vicarious” job points from other characters’ experience and start racking up skills in classes they never played (and every class you master awards a permanent stat boost). And if you’re a real FFT min-maxing lunatic, they even implemented a (purely optional and actively discouraged) option to drop a character back to level 1 but keep your skills so you can grind them up in the class of your choice and get exactly the stats you wanted. This is a game that wants to be enjoyed by its players.

Grab it, grind your balls off, create the ultimate team, then raise the difficulty too high and get murdered. Great way to wait out the Apocalypse.

Assault Android Cactus

A cheerfully intense twin-stick/mouse WASD overhead arena shooter with transforming stages. The twist is you’re playing an android on limited battery charge and every once in a while enemies drop a battery pickup that obligates you to wade through the crowd of baddies and grab it or risk letting your power run out before you beat the stage.

There are several different androids to pick from, each with their own unique primary attack pattern and powerful secondary attack limited by an overheat meter. (My favorite is Peanut, whose secondary attack is to fly through the crowd behind a pneumatic drill, rapidly destroying the first strong enemy she hits.) The graphics are a soft and colorful contrast to all the carnage surrounding you, and the music is fun and peppy.

I forgot who said it, but the best description I heard for AAC’s gameplay was, “In other arena shooters, it’s you among the robots. In Assault Android Cactus, it’s the robots among YOU.”

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

A tactical hex-based combat-heavy sci-fi 4X game (set on the surface of a single planet) whose gameplay is heavily based off the classic fantasy 4X “Master of Magic.” The major hook to MoM was finding synergies between the inherent strengths of the fantasy race who made up your followers, and the school of magic your wizard-king specializes in. Planetfall takes that formula and slaps sci-fi terms over all the fantasy talk (“school of magic” becomes “secret tech,” “spells” become “operations,” and the “dwarves” become the “dvar”) but takes full advantage of the sci fi setting to give units tons of interesting new abilities that wouldn’t work in a Tolkien world. As a long-time fan of the Age of Wonders series it’s difficult not to gush about all the gameplay improvements without turning this little blurb into a 30-page essay.

The setting is kind of odd, as it feels more like someone digging through their old toy box from the 80s and waging battles between action figures from wildly different settings (like He-Man vs GI Joe vs Dino-Riders) rather than a cohesive world of its own. Likewise the aesthetics evoke the look and soundtrack of those 80s toy-hawking shows in a way that all the sythwave games miss. A lot of games lately try to “be” 80s, Planetfall feels like something “from” the 80s, all the way down to the 80s hairdo, sunglasses, and Tom Selleck mustache I can give my custom commander.

But come at the game from the standpoint that you are sitting on your bedroom floor playing with mismatched action figures and it’s an absolute blast. Even the lowliest unit now has multiple attacks and support abilities to use in tactical combat, from tossing grenades to overwatch fire. Every unit can slot (and replace) up to 3 upgrades from electric bullets to phase devices that let them walk through walls. Hell, commanders can opt to equip an attack chopper in lieu of a weapon and gain all the abilities of that vehicle boosted by all the skills of the commander. Not being limited to the 4 elements, the secret techs bring all sorts of interesting possibilities that were only hinted at in the fantasy AoW games, like the Xenoplague tech where you outfit your troops with horrifying slimy alien parasites sticking out their backs for super strength and the ability to infect enemies and turn them into tiny facehugger-style monsters which can eventually mutate into giant clawed monstrosities.

Maybe… maybe focusing on the plague powers wasn’t the best thing to focus on right now. There are other secret techs based on wormholes, psychic powers, AI singularities, and more!

The only thing about this game that’s a letdown from Age of Wonders 3 is the strategic map. Instead of the hex-by-hex, what-you-see-is-what-you-get method of territory capture AoW 3 used, Planetfall uses a more abstract system of annexing entire provinces at once, but you can only extract one of the resources located there in an “exploitation” system the tutorial does a crap job explaining. (Note that most reviews of this game are obsolete because it recently had a massive balance and interface update that addressed most of the old complaints. I didn’t buy the game until post-update so I can’t comment on the changes.)

Waste hours constructing your ultimate Amazon warrior riding a T-Rex with lasers attached to its head, then take her to battle against the Strogg from Quake 2. I love this fucking game!

Fight’n Rage

Put simply, the best belt-scroller brawler of all time, at least that I’ve played.

Taking all the best from Final Fight, Streets of Rage, The Punisher, Aliens vs Predator, and mixing them all together into a simple-to-learn difficult to master game. You’ve got Gal, the speedster with an emphasis on aerial combat, Ricardo, the “What if Mike Haggar was a Cow?” heavy hitter, and F. Norris, the technical Ninja with physics defying moves. The sheer depth to this game’s combat mechanics approach Devil May Cry-level combo potential, but all that air-juggling is entirely optional and you can muddle through on basic moves alone without being overwhelmed. (In fact the game has secret moves that need to looked up on the internet, but you can still win without ever touching them).

This probably isn’t a game you want your wife or girlfriend to see you playing, especially with the ridiculous tit-bouncing animation for Gal’s sprite.

In terms of actual gameplay, I would say the one weakness of the game is the one shared by its genre, brawler fatigue, but the fact of the matter is Fight’n Rage saves your progress if you quit mid-game! Greatest. Belt-scroller. EVER!

Battlestar Galactica – Deadlock

Speaking of games whose reviews at release are now totally obsolete, Battlestar Galactica Deadlock is a turn-based tactical naval sim in 3D space that started out mediocre, but thanks to many, many heroic patches and DLCs became something special.

The setting is a prequel to the Ronald Moore reboot series. It’s the first war against the Cylons and in this time Battlestars are just the flagships to large and diverse fleets of colonial warships. I really like how this game makes use of models from the original 70s TV series for earlier versions of the ships. Despite being in space, this is a world Moore created in response to years of Star Trek technobabble, so phones come on cords, Viper fighters shoot bullets, and the major thrust of combat is clouds of missiles and torpedoes, sometimes with nuclear warheads in them.

The big thing about this title is it’s more a simulator than an abstract dice-based boardgame. Torpedo swarms are objects moving in 3D space that can be dodged with evasive maneuvers, or blown up in a Battlestar’s flak screen, but only if you’re positioned just right to catch them. Meanwhile those big imposing turrets on top of a Battlestar have a hard time catching fast-moving corvettes and can’t aim at an enemy flying underneath. Add to this deployable mines, fighter and bomber craft, teleporting Cylons, missile-replenishing support craft, and it all turns into a delicate dance of death that’s SO satisfying when you get a perfect firing line and watch the enemy’s ships melt under withering cannon fire.

And then when it’s all over the game has an option to view a replay of the fight and watch your tactics unfold with dynamic shakey-cam to look like a scene out of the show.

Note that this game has a crapload of DLC, but the only ones necessary for a first time player are “Reinforcement Pack” and “Broken Alliance.” The rest are separate campaigns taking place later in the story and you can buy them later.

Dungeons III or War for the Overworld

Dungeons III

War for the Overworld

The Dungeon Keeper series is dead, but there are two excellent, but distinct, spiritual successors: War for the Overworld and Dungeons III. I imagine more people are interested in the differences between the two than a mini review of either one individually so here goes: Dungeons III if you want a singleplayer-focused game based around randomly generated skirmish maps, War for the Overworld if you want a multiplayer-focused game that takes place on hand-crafted maps.

Both games have you playing as a disembodied floating hand of evil who marks blocks of dirt for excavation by your diminutive worker minions, then fills the resulting rooms with amenities to see to the needs of your growing horde of monsters, as well as traps to weaken invading forces of do-gooder heroes looking to slaughter your innocent monstrosities and steal your gold. Both games add a 3-branched tech tree, each suited to a different play style. Both games have a top-shelf voice actor providing narration and occasional commentary, WftO grabs DK’s original Stephen Fitts as a malevolent dark god, while Dungeons III has Kevan Brighting as a storybook narrator whose sing-songey inflection is meant to form a comedic contrast to the carnage and evil you’re wreaking on the world.

War for the Overworld keeps very true to the original game’s formula of keeper-on-keeper battles taking place in underground dungeon structures. Dungeons III is an asymmetrical battle between your underground dungeon which functions like the original game, and the overworld kingdom of good that functions like an RTS. Dungeons III makes the player constantly bounce back and forth between conquering sections of the overworld to harvest evil (for teching up) and destroy hero generators, then returning to the dungeon to fight off hero waves then rearm and rebuild for the next surface foray.

In terms of aesthetics, from the original Dungeon Keeper’s dark comedy tone, War for the Overworld leans more to dark, and Dungeons III leans more to comedy. WftO’s dungeons have more muted colors and much nastier-looking monsters. DIII’s dungeons are by contrast a riot of colors and the actions of your monsters are more cheerful, like the Dr Seussian machine the Orks use to build your traps. Story-wise, War for the Overworld’s campaign is more interesting while Dungeons III’s story is an “Epic Movie” style comedy about nonstop lampshading and references that some people find hilarious but I find odious.

My personal preference is for Dungeons III on gameplay grounds, sticking to the random skirmish maps, but if multiplayer’s your bag, grab War for the Overworld. Note that “Clash of Gods” is the only DLC for Dungeons III that adds any new gameplay mechanics, the rest are all 3-mission mini campaigns and you aren’t missing out on any important story by skipping them.


Need a little excitement in your quarantine? Redout is a hoverjet racing game in the style of F-Zero. Playing it produces the greatest sensation of speed I ever experienced in all my years of gaming.

The game’s clever trick is that the world is rendered in a low-polygon “stained glass” style that makes it easy on the hardware, then buries it in post processing effects. Since it’s all going to be zooming by in a blur anyway, who cares if it’s low poly? The result is a sense of complex cities screaming past as your hoverjet does stomach-churning roller coaster loop-de-loops.

It’s my favorite racing game. And if you aren’t interested in multiplayer, grab the “solar challenge edition” at GOG that gives you all the DLCs at a massively discounted price at the cost of no multiplayer.

X-Morph Defense

The best “maze-builder” tower defense meets the transforming command ship of Herzog Zwei meets Godzilla-sized boss tanks meets the single greatest building destruction engine in gaming history.

You play a malevolent alien force that’s like a cross between the Borg and the Decepticons invading Earth by dropping vulnerable terraforming cores from space that must be protected from earthling armies by your transforming alien fighter jet and all the defensive turrets and laser fences you can build to herd them to their doom. But the Earthlings won’t go down without a fight and on top of the endless tank convoys and bomber formations they field giant boss vehicles with individually-targetable turrets and other weak points that feel like they’ve been plucked from the Ray force games. On top of all this, buildings crumble and topple in incredibly realistic ways and can land on enemy convoys, crushing tanks underneath and forcing the survivors on the other side to find a new route to your core.

Is it an action game? Is it a strategy game? Is it a puzzle game? Whatever the hell it is, it is GLORIOUS!


Tangledeep is a genuine roguelike, built from the ground up with a goal toward fun, and a delightful 16-bit SNES aesthetic.

This game draws inspiration from a lot of sources, like the job system from Final Fantasy Tactics, the Item world from Disgaea, and the breezy controller-friendly interface of Shiren the Wanderer, among others. Instead of a hunger mechanic, healing and the stamina and mana to power your skills is in limited supply and must be gathered by exploring. I really like how movement and positioning is such a key component of combat, enemy super attacks mark the targeted squares one round before activating, giving you a chance to escape or risk trying for a finishing blow. You can return to town whenever you like to sell equipment and get new quests.

Even though it’s a real roguelike and will totally murder you for one absentminded move, the smooth interface, charming graphics, and beautiful 16-bit music make for one of the most pleasant gaming experiences of 2020.

Clone Drone in the Danger Zone

Clone Drone in the Danger Zone is a voxel-based third person melee combat roguelite that’s the true successor to the old Lucasarts Jedi Knight games. I know, shame on me for suggesting an early access game. But the game has been fully playable for over a year and the only thing remaining is the final chapter of the story campaign. Endless mode is where it’s at and it’s feature complete at this point.

The premise is you’ve been kidnapped by alien robots and had your consciousness uploaded into a robot body then forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena until you die while being mocked by a robotic Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford. Their weird text-to-speech voices only enhance the dark humor. But maybe if you survive long enough there’ll be a chance for you to escape and possibly save Earth?

Each round you enter a random obstacle course filled with hostile robots all out to kill you. Luckily you’ve been given a lightsaber energy sword that can slice clean through their voxel bodies. Unfortunately their weapons do the same to you and you could find yourself hopping around on one leg (a difficult but not hopeless situation). If you live, you visit Upgrade Bot and buy new powers like a jetpack, or a flaming sword, or a laser bow, or just extra lives. I’m having difficulty putting into words just how satisfying landing the perfect hit is. This is one of the most visceral combat games since Hammerfight and I love every bit of it. Even if the early access came to a sudden halt right now, the game that’s been released to this point is totally worth it.

Be safe, wash your hands, stay inside, then melt your brain with GAMING DOODZ!!!

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Mischief Maker

Plinko: The Classic Game Reimagined for the Digital Age


Plinko, a game that has captivated audiences for decades on television game shows, has found a new lease of life in the realm of video games. This simple yet mesmerizing game, where players drop a disc from the top of a pegged board and watch it cascade down to a scoring slot, has been reimagined for the digital world. Now, it seamlessly integrates with video game platforms, offering a fresh and interactive gaming experience. The transition from a physical board to a digital format has allowed for innovative gameplay features and has connected Plinko with a global audience. This article explores how Plinko has been transformed for video game enthusiasts, offering a nostalgic yet novel experience.

The Mechanics of Digital Plinko

In its digital incarnation, Plinko retains the core elements that made it a hit: strategy, chance, and anticipation. Players now have the ability to control various aspects of the game, such as the point of release of the disc, its initial velocity, and sometimes even the arrangement of the pegs, thanks to the interactive nature of video games. This added layer of strategy enhances the traditional Plinko experience, making it more engaging. The physics engine of modern video games adds a realistic touch to the movement of the disc, providing a satisfying simulation of gravity and collision. Moreover, the digital format allows for endless variations of the board, ensuring that no two games are exactly alike.

Plinko in the World of Video Games

Plinko’s integration into video games has been both direct and subtle. Some games are dedicated solely to emulating the Plinko experience, offering various levels, challenges, and even multiplayer modes. Others incorporate Plinko as a mini-game or bonus feature within larger game narratives, providing a fun and unexpected break from the main gameplay. This versatility has made Plinko a beloved feature in many video games, appealing to players looking for a quick diversion or a deep dive into strategic play. The simplicity of Plinko, combined with the complexity of video game design, creates a uniquely satisfying experience that bridges generations of gamers.

The Appeal of Digital Plinko

The appeal of Plinko in the digital gaming sphere lies in its simplicity and the instant gratification it offers. It’s a game that requires minimal skill, making it accessible to a wide range of players, yet it provides enough variation and challenge to keep them engaged. The digital version of Plinko also taps into the nostalgia of those who grew up watching it on television, offering a slice of childhood joy with a modern twist. Furthermore, the game’s integration into social media platforms and gaming communities has fostered a competitive yet communal environment, where players can share strategies, celebrate high scores, and even compete in online tournaments.

Future Trends and Innovations

As video game technology continues to evolve, so too will the digital versions of Plinko. Future trends may include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) versions of the game, offering an even more immersive experience. Imagine donning a VR headset and stepping into a virtual game show studio, where you can physically drop the Plinko disc and watch as it bounces down a three-dimensional board. Developers might also integrate more complex strategic elements, such as power-ups or obstacles, to deepen the gameplay. Additionally, the potential for blockchain technology to introduce a cryptocurrency-based betting system could revolutionize how players engage with Plinko, making it not just a game of chance, but also a potential investment.

Conclusion: Plinko’s Timeless Charm in the Digital Arena

Plinko’s journey from a simple game show segment to a staple in the video game world is a testament to its enduring appeal. By blending the nostalgic charm of the original game with the interactive and innovative possibilities of digital technology, Plinko has successfully transitioned into the digital age. Whether through dedicated Plinko video games or as a memorable mini-game within larger titles, it continues to offer a blend of strategy, luck, and fun that is accessible to gamers of all ages. As technology advances, the future of digital Plinko looks bright, promising new ways to enjoy this classic game that has captured hearts for generations.

Sugar Rush Casino: Donde los Videojuegos y el Casino Se Fusionan en Una Aventura

Sugar Rush

Sugar Rush Casino emerge como una propuesta innovadora en el universo del entretenimiento online, creando un punto de encuentro único para aficionados tanto de los videojuegos como del mundo del casino. Este espacio digital ofrece una experiencia inmersiva que combina la emoción y la interactividad de los videojuegos con la adrenalina y la expectativa del juego de apuestas. Con gráficos vibrantes, personajes carismáticos y una amplia variedad de juegos, Sugar Rush Casino promete no solo diversión, sino una verdadera aventura en cada sesión. La plataforma se distingue por su capacidad de adaptar elementos narrativos y mecánicas de juego típicas de los videojuegos a formatos de casino, creando una experiencia de usuario sin precedentes. Este enfoque no solo atrae a una amplia audiencia, sino que también redefine lo que se espera de un casino en línea.

La Fusión Perfecta Entre Videojuegos y Apuestas

Sugar Rush Casino ha logrado capturar la esencia de los videojuegos, integrándola hábilmente en el contexto de los juegos de casino. Cada juego en la plataforma es una oda a la narrativa y la interacción, características fundamentales de los videojuegos, enriquecidas con el excitante componente de las apuestas. Esta combinación asegura una experiencia de juego dinámica, donde la estrategia y la suerte se entrelazan en un baile emocionante. Los jugadores se encuentran sumergidos en mundos imaginarios, donde cada decisión puede llevar a una victoria espectacular o a una derrota aprendida. Sugar Rush Casino así se convierte en el escenario de una aventura sin fin, donde los límites los pone solo la imaginación.

Explorando los Juegos de Sugar Rush Casino

La biblioteca de juegos de Sugar Rush Casino
es tan diversa como los propios videojuegos, ofreciendo desde máquinas tragamonedas temáticas hasta mesas de juego que requieren de una estrategia afinada. Lo que hace especial a cada juego son los personajes y las historias que los envuelven, invitando a los jugadores a sumergirse en una experiencia de juego rica y envolvente. Estos personajes no solo sirven de guía a través de los diferentes niveles y desafíos, sino que también añaden una capa de conexión emocional al juego. La constante introducción de nuevos juegos y narrativas asegura que la experiencia en Sugar Rush Casino siempre sea fresca y excitante. Esta innovación continua es testimonio del compromiso de la plataforma con ofrecer una experiencia de entretenimiento de primer nivel.

Tecnología y Seguridad en la Vanguardia

La seguridad y la fiabilidad son pilares fundamentales de Sugar Rush Casino, asegurando que cada sesión de juego sea tan segura como emocionante. Utilizando tecnología de cifrado de última generación, la plataforma protege la información y las transacciones de los jugadores, garantizando un entorno de juego justo y transparente. Además, la integración de sistemas de juego responsable subraya el compromiso de Sugar Rush Casino con el bienestar de sus usuarios. Esta atención a la seguridad y la ética convierte a Sugar Rush Casino en un destino de confianza para aficionados de los videojuegos y del casino por igual. En un mundo donde la tecnología avanza a pasos agigantados, Sugar Rush Casino se mantiene a la vanguardia, ofreciendo una experiencia segura y de vanguardia.

Conclusión: Un Futuro Brillante para Sugar Rush Casino

Sugar Rush Casino representa la evolución del entretenimiento en línea, fusionando mundos que muchos creían distantes: los videojuegos y el casino. Esta plataforma no solo ofrece una nueva forma de jugar y apostar, sino que también establece un nuevo estándar en términos de inmersión y diversión. Con su compromiso continuo con la innovación, la seguridad y una experiencia de usuario excepcional, Sugar Rush Casino está posicionado para liderar el camino hacia el futuro del entretenimiento digital. A medida que más jugadores buscan experiencias de juego que combinen lo mejor de ambos mundos, Sugar Rush Casino se erige como el destino predilecto, prometiendo aventuras sin límites en el horizonte del juego online. La aventura en Sugar Rush Casino acaba de comenzar, y el futuro promete ser tan emocionante como las propias experiencias que ofrece.

Sugar Rush Casino : Quand les Jeux Vidéo Rencontrent l’Univers du Casino

Sugar Rush

L’univers des casinos en ligne connaît une évolution constante, cherchant toujours à innover pour attirer de nouveaux joueurs. Parmi ces innovations, le Sugar Rush Casino se démarque par son approche unique, fusionnant l’univers des jeux vidéo avec l’excitation du casino. Ce concept inédit propose une expérience immersive où les joueurs peuvent profiter de leurs jeux de casino préférés tout en naviguant dans un monde virtuel rappelant les jeux vidéo les plus populaires. Les graphismes colorés, les personnages emblématiques et les quêtes captivantes transforment chaque session de jeu en une aventure épique. Sugar Rush Casino est la destination rêvée pour les amateurs de jeux vidéo et de casino, offrant une fusion parfaite entre ces deux mondes.

Une Immersion Totale dans le Monde du Jeu

Sugar Rush Casino propose une immersion sans précédent dans le monde des jeux vidéo. Dès l’entrée sur le site, les joueurs sont accueillis dans un environnement vibrant et dynamique, évoquant les jeux d’arcade classiques et les univers fantastiques des jeux modernes. Chaque jeu de casino disponible sur la plateforme est habilement intégré dans ce monde virtuel, offrant une dimension supplémentaire au gameplay habituel. Les joueurs peuvent explorer différents niveaux, chacun présentant des défis uniques et des récompenses alléchantes. Cette approche immersive encourage les joueurs à s’engager davantage, transformant chaque pari en une partie intégrante de l’aventure globale.

Des Jeux de Sugar Rush Casino Renouvelés

Au Sugar Rush Casino
, les jeux traditionnels de casino sont revisités avec une touche de fantaisie inspirée des jeux vidéo. Les machines à sous, par exemple, sont conçues avec des thèmes et des histoires inspirés des jeux vidéo les plus iconiques, offrant une expérience de jeu enrichie et visuellement attrayante. Le blackjack et la roulette sont également transformés, incorporant des éléments de gameplay et des missions secondaires qui rappellent les quêtes de jeux vidéo. Cette fusion entre les mécaniques de jeu de casino et les éléments de jeu vidéo crée une expérience ludique unique, rendant chaque session de jeu excitante et imprévisible. Les joueurs sont constamment surpris par les innovations et les interactions offertes, renforçant leur engagement et leur fidélité envers le casino.

Une Communauté Engagée et Connectée

L’un des aspects les plus remarquables du Sugar Rush Casino est sa capacité à créer une communauté soudée d’amateurs de jeux vidéo et de casino. La plateforme encourage les interactions entre les joueurs à travers des tournois, des défis collectifs et des espaces de discussion. Ces initiatives favorisent un sentiment d’appartenance et permettent aux joueurs de partager leurs stratégies, leurs victoires et leurs expériences de jeu. Cette communauté dynamique contribue à l’atmosphère conviviale du casino, rendant chaque visite plus agréable et enrichissante. De plus, les événements réguliers et les mises à jour constantes du jeu assurent une expérience toujours renouvelée, gardant les joueurs engagés et impatients de découvrir les nouveautés.

Des Récompenses Innovantes et Attrayantes

Les récompenses offertes par le Sugar Rush Casino sont conçues pour refléter l’excitation et la variété des jeux vidéo. En plus des gains traditionnels, les joueurs peuvent débloquer des bonus spéciaux, des avatars exclusifs et des accessoires virtuels pour personnaliser leur expérience de jeu. Ces récompenses ajoutent une couche supplémentaire de satisfaction, car elles permettent aux joueurs de marquer leur progression et de se distinguer au sein de la communauté. La structure de récompense du casino encourage également les joueurs à explorer toutes les facettes du jeu, incitant à la découverte et à l’expérimentation de nouvelles stratégies et jeux.

Conclusion : Une Révolution dans le Monde du Casino

Sugar Rush Casino représente une évolution significative dans l’industrie du jeu en ligne, offrant une expérience qui dépasse les attentes traditionnelles des casinos. En intégrant les éléments captivants des jeux vidéo dans le monde du casino, Sugar Rush crée une expérience ludique unique qui attire et retient une large audience. Que vous soyez un passionné de jeux vidéo à la recherche d’une nouvelle façon de jouer ou un habitué des casinos en quête d’innovation, Sugar Rush Casino promet divertissement, aventure, et récompenses. Cette fusion réussie entre deux mondes offre le meilleur des deux, établissant un nouveau standard dans l’industrie du jeu en ligne.

Plinko and Video Games: A Dynamic Intersection


Plinko, a classic game of chance, has captivated audiences with its simplicity and the thrilling unpredictability of each drop. Originally popularized by television game shows, players drop chips down a peg-filled board, watching as they navigate towards slots with varying point values or prizes. This game emphasizes luck, but keen observers try to discern patterns or optimal drop points. Its engaging nature has made it a favorite pastime, and its fundamental mechanics have seamlessly transitioned into the digital realm, influencing video game design and integration. The allure of Plinko lies in its blend of simplicity, chance, and the fleeting hope of strategizing a perfect play.

Plinko’s Mechanics and Digital Evolution

The essence of Plinko
revolves around a board bristling with obstacles that create a random path for the descending chip. This randomness and the anticipation of the outcome are core to its appeal. Video games, with their rich interactive environments, have adopted Plinko’s mechanics to introduce mini-games or chance-based elements within larger narratives. The digital adaptation allows for enhanced features like variable physics, special rewards, and customizable boards, expanding Plinko’s traditional gameplay. These innovations not only honor the original game but also elevate it, providing gamers with a familiar yet fresh experience.

Strategies in Plinko: The Video Game Variant

While traditional Plinko is largely a game of chance, its video game counterparts often introduce elements that allow for player skill and strategy to influence outcomes. Gamers may encounter versions where timing, pattern recognition, or even power-ups can sway the odds in their favor. These adaptations make Plinko more than just a passive experience; they challenge players to think critically and act with precision. Such variations highlight the game’s versatility and its ability to integrate into the video gaming culture, where strategy and skill are highly valued.

Plinko in Video Game Culture: Beyond Just a Game

Plinko’s integration into video games has done more than just provide entertainment; it has created a bridge between casual gaming audiences and more dedicated gamers. Its presence in video game form—whether as a mini-game within a larger title or as a standalone digital experience—speaks to its universal appeal and the nostalgia it evokes. Moreover, online communities and multiplayer features add a competitive edge to Plinko, enabling players to share strategies, celebrate high scores, and even compete in real-time. This social aspect has solidified Plinko’s place in the gaming community, transforming it into a cultural touchstone that transcends generations.

The Future of Plinko in Gaming: What Lies Ahead

As gaming technology continues to advance, the potential for Plinko’s evolution within the video game industry is limitless. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) could offer immersive experiences that bring Plinko into three-dimensional spaces, making the game more engaging than ever. Furthermore, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could introduce new reward systems, adding a layer of real-world value to winning at Plinko. The ongoing fusion of Plinko and video gaming promises to keep this classic game relevant, exciting, and accessible to a broad audience.

In conclusion, Plinko’s journey from a simple game show segment to a beloved component of video gaming culture illustrates its timeless appeal and adaptability. Its mechanics serve as a foundation for engaging gameplay, while its integration into video games demonstrates the potential for classic games to find new life in the digital age. As technology progresses, Plinko will undoubtedly continue to evolve, offering future generations novel ways to experience the thrill of dropping a chip and watching it chart a path through a maze of possibilities.