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12

Mar

2BGC Ep. 11 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

The eleventh game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) for the N64.

Zelda was a big kid on the block long before there was 3D gaming, with four hit games for the NES, SNES, and DMG, the series was already a heavy hitter in the games industry, but in 1998 Miyamoto and Aonuma released what would be Nintendo’s heavy weight champion.

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Zelda wasn’t the first Nintendo series to bridge the gap from 2D to 3D, but it did so with universal acclaim. The game stands with an invincible 99% on Metacritic, having received perfect score from IGN, Gamespot, and became the first game to receive 40/40 from Famitsu.

If you haven’t played this game you’re missing out on a cornerstone of gaming history. Even if you don’t enjoy 3D action adventure games with compasses and dungeon maps The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is worth playing for the historical value alone.

To find a copy ofThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time try your friendly retro game store. Versions of the game are available for N64, Gamecube, 3DS, and virtual console. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

Facebook – Twitter – YouTube – Patreon – iTunes

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25

Jan

Doom – Toronto Discussion Group Round-Up

Here are some of the relevant bits from last night’s discussion at Electric Perfume in Toronto.

Doom Mods

It’s a huge database of WAD files that you can plug into the doom engine to get started on enjoying content the Doom community has been creating since 1993.

Read more…

20

Jan

Toronto Global Game Jam 2017 Diary!

Day 1 – Basebol!

Jan 20th 20:09

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The team gets all the tech set up to make the magic happen.

Throughout the weekend I’ll be tracking the progress of the development of Crystallized Game’s jam game, Project Basebol, based on the jam theme, Waves.

Jan 20th 20:38

I've got the right hat for the job. #TheSicks

I’ve got the right hat for the job. #TheSicks

Jan 20th 21:22

Audio plan established. I’m exciting to work with some new techniques in the Unreal game engine. It’s time to bust out the Logic Pro X manual and learn about surround sounds and stereo up mixing.

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Ready up, let’s go!

Jan 20th 21:40

8-bit basebol fans cheering for 8-bit basebols.

8-bit basebol fans cheering for 8-bit basebols.

Jan 20th 23:20

Caffeine count: 300ml

Awake Juice

Awake Juice

Jan 20th 23:46

Caffeine count: 600ml

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Jan 21st 10:30

Jamming resumes. Hot earl grey tea, oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, baby elephant walk.

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Jan 21st 11:51

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Some great reference material from the american composer Mancini, famous for other tunes like the Days of Wine and Roses.

Caffeine count: 900ml

Jan 21st 12:55

Caffeine count: 1.2L

First draft of the title theme is done! All the earl grey tea it done!

It’s crazy to look at how little of an idea needs to be implemented concretely in order for it to give a solid impression of where it’s headed. Composing is fun!

Jan 21st 14:08

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The gameplay theme for Project Basebol is coming along nicely. This game’s soundtrack is going to be very silly.

Jan 21st 16:41

Development is racing ahead. I have a theme together for the game play section, the team got together in a a hallway to record shouting crowd noises, and the scope of our vision for the game is on course for completion.

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Caffeine count: 1.91L

Jan 21st 17:07

Here’s a preview of what the game play music will sound like.

Jan 21st 19:05

Caffeine count: 2.62L

Composition has wrapped. Onto producing this hot mix tape.

Jan 22nd 10:07

Caffeine count: 2.92L

Welcome from Crystallized Games North. While laptop computers are nice and light, sometimes you need the heavy hitting of a desk top in order to deliver the goods.

Jan 22nd 13:07

Caffeine count: 3.83L

Back at Toronto Global Game Jam HQ at GBC on King, the new game is really taking shape.

Jan 22nd 12:33

WaveBall 20XX is finished! You can play it here!

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10

Jan

The Integrated Art of Doom Modding

By Christine Kim

When Doom was released by id Software in 1993, the landscape of game modification was greatly impacted and was the entry point for one of the first artistic interventions in video games. id Software was aware of an enthusiastic modding culture that grew from their previous game, Wolfentstein 3D. Though the process in creating and loading the mods for that game were more difficult. With the community in mind, lead programmer John Carmack, a known advocate for copyleft  and John Romero, who had hacked games in his youth, had the idea to simply give players the tools required to mod via WAD files.

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What are WAD files?

Short for “Where’s All the Data?”, WAD files contain levels, graphics, and sounds stored separately from the game engine. Which allows players to create their own visual and audio data without making any modifications to the engine itself. WADs modify Doom by replacing graphics and audio, but the customization is somewhat limited as the game’s behaviour is hardcoded. So even if the game looks and sounds new, a Doom mod will feel like Doom.

Game Mods vs Art Mods

The early artistic interventions with FPSs were not so different from hacks and mods by the gaming community. Though there is artistry in creating game mods, the distinction between artist and modder as defined by Anne-Marie Schleiner is that modders “remain innocent of previous artistic tactics which foreshadow their creative processes.” Also, most modders wouldn’t consider themselves artists nor do they have the artistic training. It is often the intention behind the mod, and who the mod was made by, that distinguishes a game mod from an art mod. Art mods are often a means to a critical end, shedding light on the FPS genre and as a critique on the artworld itself.

ArsDoom

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ArsDoom conceived by Austrian artist Orhan Kipcak is often considered to have opened up the conversation amongst art mods. Exhibited in 1995 at Ars Electronica, the interactive artwork was a modification of Doom where players could run and gun in a reconstruction of the Bruckernerhaus’ exhibition all. A concert hall and significant venue for exhibitions and events related to Ars Electronica.


Inside the simulated exhibition space, players take on artistic player characters such as Joseph Beuys, Arnulf Rainer, Georg Baselitz or Jeff Koons. Weapons of choice, a colour gun and a water hose. The virtual space is filled with original digital works by computer artists invited by Kipcak and players played out the role of curator and critic. Deciding which artists would be destroyed and what would be kept for public display.

Kipcak admitted that Doom was used for its availability. “The Doom Engine was an open-source solution, easy to handle and very popular at the time. It made our life so much easier!”

Doom’s Lasting Influence in Media Art History

Doom’s relevance to media art histories was particularly highlighted when the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karsruhe, Germany, included it in their Media-Art-History exhibition in 1997.

The Doom game itself was included in the exhibition. Not any specific art mods to have been built using the software. The impact of the open-source solution Doom provided through WAD files is assigned cultural meaning in this case. Giving recognition to Doom, and it’s engine, as something more than a commercial application.

 

04

Jan

2BGC Ep. 10 – Final Fantasy (1987)

The tenth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be Final Fantasy (1987) for the NES.

Final Fantasy (FFI) is just the first of many games in a landmark series that has dominated the JRPG genre. With beautiful opening art, the enchanting prelude by Nobuo Uematsu, and a no nonsense tittle crawl that puts you right at the heart of a world of magic from word go, Final Fantasy is a game that invites you to get lost.

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Isn’t that pretty?

Fans who are familiar with the series and JRPG genre will recognize in this early entry all of the things that people still love and hate about JRPGs today. Dense and often obtuse menu driven combat, big open worlds that are empty and lifeless, and larger than life story telling with unrelatable and bizarre characters. Like it or lump it, Final Fantasy delivers hard on its promises and refuses to make any explanation for its self.

To find a copy of Final Fantasy try your friendly retro game store or use other means. Consider picking up the NES Classic, playing on Android, or iOS. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

Facebook – Twitter – YouTube – Patreon – iTunes

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08

Dec

EMS Live at Placebo Space, Nov 2016

EMS hit the stage on Lake  shore at Placebo Space this November. This live recording was taken there, and is available for your listening pleasure.

03

Dec

2BGC Ep. 9 – Doom (1993)

The ninth 2-Bit Game Club game will be Doom (1993) for the PC.

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Have you ever wanted to travel to Mars and take a portal to hell so you could kill the damned with a shot gun? If so Doom has your number. Made by id Software, doom is the seminal first person shooter. There were earlier shooters that made an impact, such as Wolfenstein 3D (1992), and there were shooters that advanced the genre more dramatically, such as Hovertank 3D (1991), but Doom was the game to excitingly deliver all the elements that would come to define the FPS genre in the coming decades. It had tight controls, a dramatic setting, tense game play, and legitimate scares and horror. Bathed in gore and ultra violence the game has left a cultural legacy of concern over the impact that games have on their players, but for all the political posturing around the game here might be no better demonstration of the western relationship between the player and the gun.

Doom is a creation of id Software who were a giant in the early FPS genre delivering many hits with their game engine. Woldenstien 3D, Doom and its many sequels, were just a few of the titles that delivered on their early formula, though id Software would continue to lead innovation in the FPS space with their Quake games.  The games huge success lead to it spinning off onto all of the popular platforms of the day, and into today with fan mods, illegal rips, and plain old nonsense. Here’s Doom running on a MacBook Pro touch bar.

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To find a copy of Doom try your friendly retro game store or use other means. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

Facebook – Twitter – YouTube – Soundcloud – iTunes

2Bit Game Club Logo

You can find past podcast episodes here. For more info about the 2-Bit Game Club head over here.

14

Nov

Pokémon In Museums Versus In the Wild

By Christine Kim

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Blockbuster video game exhibitions rarely inspire me to think critically about games. My opinion was confirmed upon visiting the Ontario Science Centre in 2013 to see Game On 2.0. Especially in respect to how the Pokémon franchise was incorporated into an exhibition covering over 60 years of gaming history. This logistically complex touring exhibition was organized by the Barbican Centre and perhaps is still the world’s largest touring exhibition on the evolution of video games.


Laid out in a loose chronological order and organized into 14 distinct sections, the expansive exhibit features more than 150 playable games.
Game On 2.0 tracks the development of video games from the earliest computer games to arcade-era hits – including pinball games – as well as rarely-seen consoles, controllers and collectables.
Read more…

01

Nov

2BGC Ep. 8 – M.U.L.E.

The Eighth 2-Bit Game Club game will be M.U.L.E. for the Atari 800 and NES (1983).

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You and your three friends (read: enemies) must battle cooperate to make the colony on Irata as profitable as possible for the good of all interstellar peoples (who are you). Combing the elements of shared screen play, a blend of co-op and competition, and giving classic board game style play with action packed auctions, M.U.L.E. is a timeless game. With rules that are immediately understandable to the player, using numbers small enough for players to crunch in their head, and by emphasizing player interaction over stylish presentation, M.U.L.E. has all the makings of a great game like chess or go.

Developed by Ozark Softworks, M.U.L.E. is a significant game in the history of the medium. It puts a play experience forward that is free from violence, engages up to four people in cooperative play, teaches players meaningful lessons about economic systems and negotiation, and so managed to be a commercial success despite being released amidst the 1983 Video Game Collapse.

To find a copy of M.U.L.E. try your friendly retro game store or use other means. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

Facebook – Twitter – YouTube – Soundcloud – iTunes

2Bit Game Club Logo

You can find past podcast episodes here. For more info about the 2-Bit Game Club head over here.

05

Oct

2BGC Ep. 7 – Pokémon Red & Blue

The seventh 2-Bit Game Club game will be Pokémon Red & Blue (1996) for the Gameboy.

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Since its debut in 1993 Pokémon has become one of the world’s strongest brands with an endless flow of spin off games, toys, card and board games, feature films, television shows and so forth, but back in the early 90s Pokémon was not Pokémon yet. So how did Pokémon become what it is today, and how much of that is actually to be found in the premier titles, Pokémon Red & Blue?

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If you don’t know, Pokémon is the JRPG where you catch and train wild monsters who learn new moves as they grow stronger. You play as a kid on a journey to become the greatest Pokémon master by beating the gym leaders in the Pokémon league.

Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

Facebook – Twitter – YouTube – Soundcloud – iTunes

2Bit Game Club Logo

You can find past podcast episodes here. For more info about the 2-Bit Game Club head over here.