Sunday 28 February 2010

Mario's Brewery

You wouldn't want this on Nintendo

Forget the old record set by BROS, this unofficial Mario game is six years older and six times as worse. Developed by a guy called Jeremy Thorne in 1983 for the Commodore 64, Mario's Brewery could potentially be the first Mario fangame of all time, suffering from awful build quality and lacking official Nintendo endorsement. Clearly inspired by Donkey Kong, our good friend Mario has decided to move into beverage production for some reason. A bizarre pixellated contraption throws an endless supply of barrels down a series of girders and it's up to Mario to... jump over them. Mario's an odd chap.

There's no beginning, there's no end, there's just Mario struggling to avoid barrels in a bland world with repetitive music. Though the game is generous enough to allow Mario to jump over numerous barrels at once, the increased jump distance means you're more likely to be killed by barrels rolling about above. There's no title screen or high scores and a lack of animation clearly gives the impression it was made by a fan. After all, the Commodore 64 fanbase was filled with programmers wanting to design games for the system (as were most of the other computer fanbases at the time).

It's barely playable, but it's interesting to see how far Mario fangames date back to. It was only a year after the "Mario" name had even been invented for the character.

Saturday 27 February 2010

Mario Bros. II

Can't get this on Nintendo... home consoles...

It's a sequel to the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros., cleverly and uniquely titled "Mario Bros. II". Released by "Thundersoft" in 1987 on the Commodore 64, it's another entry to the ever growing collection of forgotten and potentially illegal Mario titles that nobody seems know nor care about. It's actually the third Mario Bros. game for the Commodore 64 - the original game turned up twice in 1984 by Atari and 1987 by Ocean respectively. I have no idea who "The Riffs" are because as per usual, there's very little information about this title on the internet. TIME FOR THAT TO CHANGE.

Friday 19 February 2010

Toxic Bunny

Time to test out those slightly bigger blog dimensions!

I like Jazz Jackrabbit. You'd be hard pressed to find a DOS fan that didn't give it (or its sequel) some credit. But as great as Jazz is, I've always felt that the game would be greatly improved if the character had some sort of psychotic addiction to caffeine, and if he spent more time running around underground shooting mutants and aliens in an attempt to get revenge on Margaret Thatcher (because who else would interfere with designated break times set by the unions!?). Thank goodness that Celestial Games heard my request made fourteen years into the future and created...

Toxic Bunny. Is it all coming back to you now? Didn't think so. That's because Toxic Bunny was released in 1996, at least three years after Doom decided to render all 2D PC platformers unsellable and cause a twenty year long chain of constantly improving first person shooters. Toxic turned up for both DOS and Windows computers, but it wasn't long until it was sent to the bargain bin to eventually make friends with Jimmy White's Cueball and various old Worms games. Celestial pointlessly changed their name to Twilyt Productions, attempted to release a sequel on the original Xbox, failed and seemed to disappear off the gaming map.

Sunday 14 February 2010

Blog Squirrel, now in HD

Believe it or not but this blog uses a template! One designed by Google/Blogger in 2004, and though it's nice... it doesn't really make the best use of monitors designed after 2004. Perfect for those classic 800x600 and 1024x768 displays, but anything higher gets treated to big vertical borders at either side of the blog posts. Now I don't know about you, but that doesn't seem to be an efficient use of space to me, so I've converted those pixel widths into percentage ones.

The downside is if you're using an 800x600 monitor, this blog will look horrible. But to be fair, everything looks horrible if you're using an 800x600 montior. Things might still look a bit strange with crazy 1080p monitors, but the point is things shouldn't be as cramped anymore.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is free


Electronic Arts are being slightly less evil today by releasing one of the greatest real-time strategy games for the price of a 1.2GB download. Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (plus Firestorm), which will go along nicely with your copies of the original Command & Conquer and Red Alert, both also released as freeware a few months back. It's so nice I seem to own it twice.

Tiberian Sun is, as far as I'm concerned, the height of the C&C series. Red Alert 2 was fun, but doesn't quite have the same amount of replay value. Many of the great features Tiberian Sun brought to the table were scrapped in later games for unknown reasons, so despite being made in the last millennium, the game still puts up a good fight against many modern RTS games today.

The release seems to have occurred in order to promote the likes of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, which will probably suck as it abandons the core C&C gameplay mechanics in favour of... RPG elements (just like real life!?!). It also raises questions as to what happened to the rest of EA's back-catalogue. Tiberian Sun came out in 1999, so there's seventeen years of EA history that you're still expected to pay for, despite being less advanced and probably less popular than Westwood's creation. Nevertheless, this is an extremely good deal so make sure you download it.

Sunday 7 February 2010

Guides (Mk. II)

I made a couple of non-Blog-Squirrel-branded guides to use against the uneducated users of Mario Fan Games Galaxy, but since it applies to far more people than Mario fans, I think it's only fair to pass it around a bit. It also gives me an excuse to try out Blogger's "Pages" option.


(Now with 200% more off-site hosting!)

Now you too can rid yourself of JPEGs and run 80s games in composite colour mode. Who needs fast cars and young women?

Friday 5 February 2010

The Lion King

Don't worry, we're running out of childhood classics that are worth talking about.

In this episode of Squirrel's blast from the past, we ask ourselves, "can I wait to be king?". Yes it's Disney's The Lion King, born before quantity had a higher precedence than quality in the Disney marketing language. Unlike the slightly earlier blockbuster release of Aladdin, this one was almost identical on all platforms, so chances are most kids of the 1990s have seen or heard of this game in some form or another.

Monday 1 February 2010

How low can you go?

Make sure your exit path isn't blocked as we fly into

the DOS port of Donkey Kong from 1983. Under normal circumstances you'd assume that the powerful range of IBM computers would put any console version of the game to shame, but instead the result was one of the worst games the ape has ever been thrown into. Let's take a look!