Danny O’Dwyer and his band of flame-grilled collaborators at Noclip have produced this excellent documentary about the development of the Burger King Games.
The best beast, Godzilla, is returning so soon. As COVID-19 numbers are on the rise and precautions continue to be generally forgotten, I’ll be looking forward to the home release of Godzilla Minus One.
Announced today without any release date beyond “coming soon” or a price, Nightdive Studios shared this trailer today for the classic Dark Forces FPS from LucasArts to get a remaster. The footage in the trailer has a warning that this is pre-alpha footage, so not in any way final. So, I’ve got mixed feelings about this, one of the most significant games for people who enjoy Star Wars and First Person Shooters. It’s rare to find good Star Wars games in the first place, especially back in 1995. Fortunately it’s still possible to buy the original Dark Forces (gog, Steam), so it isn’t a case of the original being unavailable and brought back. What Dark Forces Remastered has on offer is instead updated controls with modern gamepad support (no more gravis gamepad needed!), graphics (Nightdive says it’ll support up to 4K resolutions), trophies and achievements, and most importantly the game is coming to a ton of platforms. You’ve got your PlayStations 4 & 5, Xbox One & Series X & S, Nintendo Switch, and Steam for Windows. The remaster uses Nightdive’s KEX engine, which as I understand it acts as a kind of wrapper around the original game.
I’ll say I have some mixed feelings about this remaster that are hopefully somewhat resolved by the fact that this trailer isn’t necessarily indicative of the final version. The updated cutscenes in the non-final trailer look kind of ridiculous to me but I have no idea what they would look like to someone who isn’t over 40 that had a chance to enjoy the original game, the lack of harshly pixelated tone may just make the game more approachable to a modern audience which is a great thing. Game preservation is sometimes about making games accessible and approachable. Presently, your options for playing the original Dark Forces are DOSBox and DREAMM.
There is also The Force Engine, a reverse-engineered version of the engine that powered the original Dark Forces and another LucasArts classic, Outlaws. Like all modern re-releases and remasters, the main issue with these is that they’re software released at a particular point in time and will stop being updated and support new platforms. Open-source software like The Force Engine can continue to be updated into the future.
Here’s what the original looked like:
Dustin Reyes passed away on Tuesday, the 8th of August 2023. We first met about 23 years ago on IRC in the #loki channel to discuss Linux games.
Dustin let me work with him on LinuxGames.com a few months later, then we co-hosted the LinuxGames.com podcast, and both attended QuakeCon in 2008.
Dustin was a unique combination of kindness, compassion, humor, and intelligence that was an unstoppable force for good and an incredible friend.
You might know Dustin as the creator of the Would You Rather bot on Twitter. The bot stopped working when the free API for that site stopped functioning.
Dustin was also an excellent astrophotographer. Here is his gallery.
Here’s a clip from Dustin’s YouTube channel with Dustin, another friend, and I playing Star Trek Bridge Crew from a few years ago:
Spook has this incredible breakdown of the X68000Z by Zuiki, Inc. it’s a new miniature version of a classic part of computing and gaming history, the Sharp X68000 home computer that used various Motorola CPUs and played a collection of arcade games and more. The X68000 has always been a bit of a mystery to me along with other great Japan-only or Japan-mostly parts of history like the MSX, but the thing that blows me away about this mini X68000, is that it includes stuff like a real modern mechanical keyboard, and a mouse that converts into a trackball!
The X68000Z mini reproduction from Zuiki is an emulator machine, so it doesn’t contain original hardware or use an FPGA like the MiSTer FPGA. Although there is an X68000 core for the MiSTer FPGA it is a work-in-progress and looks like it hasn’t been updated since October of 2022. I’d almost rather see an X68000Z box with support for installing a MiSTer if it were a great experience, but the X68000Z looks like it has a lot of custom interfaces and work to add things like save states that have been created to streamline the experience of running X68000 software in 2023.
Here’s captured gameplay footage of the X68000Z from the Sega Lord X:
As Sega Lord X notes in their conclusion, the X68000Z is still very early on, and kinda expensive. Still, the hardware is very impressive. With more platforms being reproduced for a modern era, I just need someone to make a reproduction of the most beautiful computer of all time.