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.
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:
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.
I’ll never forget the first time I went to buy Katamari Damacy, a friend that was at the store with me had no interest and wondered why I was wasting money on this weird looking but value-priced game (Katamari launched at either $20 or $30 US nearly 20 years ago) that wasn’t anything like the other games I was playing at the time. But I knew better, I’d heard from some sources at the old 1UP.com that Katamari Damacy was one to look out for.
It wasn’t long before everyone was hooked on the roll-em-up and here we have Katamari Damacy’s sequel, We Love Katamari, redone and with a new coat of paint. Although there are many other sequels and I would love to see those re-released as well, they were mainly releases to get onto new platforms after the original games were exclusive to the PlayStation 2. We Love Katamari is the only sequel that Katamari Damacy’s original creator, Keita Takahashi, worked on and some people believe that We Love Katamari is the better game, overall.
Unfortunately the first two Katamari games were completely unavailable until 2018 when the first Katamari Damacy got the ReRoll treatment.
Here, now, a wild 5 years later, we get the sequel on the Nintendo Switch, Playstations 4 & 5, Xboxen Series and One, and Steam for Windows. It’s $30.
You would have to have a heart of coal to pass up either your first or another chance to enjoy We Love Katamari.
There isn’t much of a way to talk about MyHouse.wad without spoiling it, so I’ll say that you should play MyHouse.wad which is a Doom 2 level that requires the GZDoom engine.
Getting Doom 2 running mods isn’t always super easy, but you can find a copy of GZDoom here and buy a copy of Doom 2 on Steam or on gog to get the files you need outside of those from MyHouse.wad. I’d recommend that you read the introductory post of that thread and nothing more about this game.
If you can’t get it to run, I’ve uploaded my play through of MyHouse.wad to YouTube but even after watching it there is more to MyHouse.wad for others to discover.