What I’m Playing: MyArcade Data East Gamer V

Shopping, I went past the cheap videogames aisle, and saw the MyArcade handhelds and retro consoles were out, and marked down (Xmas season starts in November!). So I grabbed the $17 8-bit Bad Dudes one; there are vastly better ones, with 16-bit or better consoles, but those cost real money.

It’s kind of fat, rounded bottom, takes 4 AAA batteries. Screen is bright, but has a very limited angle, seems cut off on the right side in some games that would’ve used overscan on a CRT, even the main menu loses a few right pixels. When there’s a lot of sprites, it flickers, which would’ve been fine on a CRT with ghosting, but looks bad on an LCD. Sound is loud but tinny and mono in the speaker, just one step up from “beep”, but really quite nice multi-channel chiptune on the headphones (yay, 3.5mm jack!). The D-pad and buttons are stiff and maybe not super-responsive, I think once it loosens up a little it’ll be pretty good controls. The way to look at it is, this would be unobtainably good for any price in the ’80s or ’90s, infinitely better than a Nintendo GameBoy Color or Atari Lynx, even if it’s a cheesy toy for pocket money today.

The games are all NES or SNES ports and retro-clones. A few are recognizably Data East, others are ridiculous ripoffs and some original games. I don’t know where they get these, but they’re kind of amazing, if a little trashy. My Scheme Jump & Bump project is about me making these kind of trash games for modern computers.

I easily got to the first boss in Bad Dudes, and then died horribly three times against him. Played some of the other random games, and they mostly work fine. The lack of instructions is killing me, though. Several games make no sense but seem to have more game going on; I can’t get keys to drop from mobs in Enchanter, so I can’t move on. So I need to do some research.

Here’s all the games. If you see something interesting, let me know in comments, otherwise I might be semi-randomly wandering these.

Sword and Sorcery

“I was actually tired of sword-and-sorcery as the genre then existed. I admired the work of C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, and Fritz Leiber and continued to respect the vitality and invention of Howard, but I had little time for the likes of Tolkien and Lewis, whom I regarded as bad popular children’s writers whose moral attitudes were highly questionable and whose particular syntheses had none of William Morris’ vision, Howard’s manic originality, or Leiber’s sophisticated flair. I was, I suppose, bored with the form itself. So when Carnell commissioned the first Elric story I decided I would try to do something as different as possible from everything which then existed.”
—Michael Moorcock, introduction to “Tales of the White Wolf”

Daylight Savings Sunday Music

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house
Though I know you’re not home

But I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your
Sunglasses on baby
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone
—Don Henley, “The Boys of Summer”

BlizzCon 2018 Summarized by Someone Who Plays Very Few Blizzard Games Anymore

I watched the opening ceremony which will only be up for a few more days, because promotional material should be hidden behind a paywall according to Acti-Blizzard-Vison.

  • Former CEO Michael Morhaime starts, introduces new CEO J. Allen Brack, former World of Warcraft exec producer, who’s presided over some of the worst WoW expansions and the massive decline of WoW’s subscribers (it’s still huge, just less huge than 4-8 years ago).
  • Starcraft: Still dominated by South Korea. So now Google “Deep Mind” is trying to make AIs capable of playing against them. In the grim post-apocalyptic wasteland after the Rise of the Machines, only South Korea will be able to defend humanity from Google “capture” bots. Good luck. But seriously, why is this 20-year-old RTS still relevant?!
  • Heroes of the Storm: Inexplicably still running. Still charging you per character, in the most offensive monetization scam in the games industry. New character intro CGI cartoon is maybe the dumbest and most self-important thing I’ve ever seen. She’s from the NEXUS, woo-ooo.
  • World of Warcraft: New exec producer seems like a doofus, may just be stage inexperience. New Battle for Azeroth “content” seems like more of the same crap: Wreck old zones, add some battlegrounds.
  • World of Warcraft Classic: Demo out today (as was known). Release date announced: Summer 2019! Much sooner than I expected, I figured Fall/Winter 2019, maybe into 2020 given Blizzard Time. Any WoW subscription gives Classic access, no extra fee.
  • Overwatch: Never watched. There’s a long post-apocalyptic pseudo-Western CGI cartoon which isn’t bad, though it has comically bad dialogue, but apparently you can’t play most of those characters yet, because Acti-Blizzard-Vision needs to extract your money over the next year. Also: In what seems to be gameplay footage (but probably more CGI cartoons), they’re fighting and automatically quip lines, but their mouths don’t move. How pathetic is that, for a bjillion-dollar AAA title?
  • Warcraft 3 “Reforged”: Demo at Blizzcon, release date “next year”. I think I only played WC1, not 2 or 3, it’s been forever and they weren’t my thing, but I might try WC3.
  • Hearthstone: Meh. Least interesting Magic ripoff gets new cards.
  • Diablo: Mobile Diablo Immortal. Hilariously tacky lore summary, “Corrupted the Worldstone … turning Humans evil and violent”! Because Humans are so good and peaceful without evil magic stones, right guy? Lemme just check these facts: WAR. Oh.

    Mockery of the presentation aside, the mobile port looks fine and I like Diablo when I don’t have to group. So… Can I play this solo? Or is it dependent on 3 other assholes none of whom know their role, and/or scream at you when you don’t run your character the way they would?

    According to Diablo Immortal web site, the classes are Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Necromancer: No Witch Doctor! Well, I like Necros as well, but hmpf.
  • Finally, there were these cosplayers, with the greatest shoulderpads ever:


Propaganda Doesn’t Work

Watching Twitch (Sh*utF*ctory plays original MST3K! The new guy is lame.) has exposed me to “advertising”. Some are just DVD sales, like In the Mouth of Madness, Bill & Ted’s, etc. Nice. Some are weird “comedic” ad placeholders for Sh*utF*ctory. But some are paid propaganda, and it’s comically ineffective on me.

There’s an imitation-muppet anti-vaping ad that plays an airhorn every time the stoner/vaping muppet says anything, while a bunch of preachy muppets give him no support for his interests. Now I want to start vaping, and also hit the pot and liquor stores.

Back in the ’80s, I might still have taken drugs (some of which are now legal, and anyway, statute of limitations) even if DARE had never shown up at school, but they made it almost mandatory: If those people were against drugs, they had to be good.

If I have any advice for young people, it’s: Take drugs, drop out of school (I deeply regret staying in prison^W school), and disregard any authority telling you not to do things.