The Retro Remakes 2008 Big Competition

It’s the Retro Remakes Competition 2008 !

Arcade Is Dead

Arcade is dead.

A statement made by Housemarque alongside the sad news that they’re leaving arcade videogames behind.

Arcade is, of course, bigger than Housemarque. There’s more of us keeping the spirit alive than Housemarque. Yet in many ways, they’re not wrong.

Making exploitation-free arcade games is playing to a dwindling audience. Games that you pay for once, games that value your time, these shortform oldschool games that crib from arcades and more specifically home computer variations and experiments, is playing selling videogames on hard mode.

There is an audience for the sort of stuff I make, Housemarque make, Llamasoft make. Of course there is. I am happy and content with the reception my own work has met, I feel I’ve often been punching way above my weight in games and I’m grateful that it’s something others have appreciated.

Make no bones, the people we do reach have, in my personal experience, been one of the most wonderful and receptive audiences you could ask for. Kind, too.

It’s just the money thing, you know? It’s not really there in huge amounts for most of us.

This isn’t a complaint, this just is.

For many of us, it’s a passion first – not that you don’t find this elsewhere in games because of course you do – here it is almost out of necessity. There isn’t much choice in the matter because making money in games is hard, making ethical arcade games is really hard.

Asking people to pay money for games that are designed to be put down and done with is tough enough elsewhere. In arcade, it’s brutal.

Yet despite that, many of us persist. The past few years we’ve seen folks hit new heights in arcade games. From the headrush of Llamasoft’s POLYBIUS to Housemarque’s Nex Machina, these are people at the top of their game. I find myself wrestling with it but Nex Machina, I think, may well be the best twin stick shooter that’s not Robotron. It’s an astounding work.

And there are folk with a lower profile doing amazing work. Assault Android Cactus, WEAREDOOMED, Waves, Bezier, Son Of Scoregasm – rich seams being tapped, fantastic games being made.

But yes. Getting sales is hard. I knew this 5 years ago when I dropped the first (and not great, tbh) iteration of Death Ray Manta. I knew this when releasing the special edition two years ago. I know this now as I slowly chip at the sequel.

Breaking out of this, making enough money to get by is rough. It has long been the case.

Arcade is dead, sure. But still, I’m going to explode that corpse into millions of multicoloured particles a few more times.

I dunno, call it compulsion if you will. I call it ‘making the things I enjoy”.

I’ll miss Housemarque’s contribution but at least they went out on a high note. I only hope that if and when the time comes, I can bow out on something as wonderful as Nex Machina.

The arcade is dead. Long live the arcade.

Advertisements

Written by RobF

November 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Rundown

Blimey, well, this all took a bit longer than we’d anticipated. Best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

So, it’s over to me to wrap this thing up for good and say a massive thank you to all our entrants and sponsors for helping get an absolute ruck of truly great games out there with this competition. Seriously well done to everyone who entered, I thank you all and especially to those who made this their first proper dip into games coding and if no-one minds me saying so, did rather bloody well for it. Here’s hoping as ever that those who didn’t quite finish on time take up the mantle and finish proper because y’know, I want to see some of them completed.

As most of you regular readers will be fully aware, due to personal stuff I never got to judge this year and that was sort of weird. I don’t really do being stuck on the sidelines too well but even worse (for me!) is that I never got to do a proper shout out for the games I loved this year. As we’re wrapping up now, if you’ll bear with me I’d like to do a couple of mentions for some of my favourites this year. Some of them didn’t do so well in the final placings either, which naturally makes me sad but that’s the nature of competitions for you. It’d be a hollow and empty world if we all agreed on stuff.

My Picks Category 1

As everyone by now is likely already aware of what a great and fantastic job Minion did on The Empire Strikes Back then aside from that passing mention, I won’t bore you by heaping anymore praise upon it. Category 1 had, as you’d expect from a remakes site – the largest amount of submissions and for the most part, pretty darn good stuff all round. However, if I was forced at gunpoint to pick a couple of highlights, first off the bat would be Ervin’s 3d-ish take on Sabre Wulf. Whilst I’m not the greatest fan of Ultimate’s output (bar a couple of early 16k games) Sabre Wulf was a prime reminder of how I ended up loving this place so much. Taking a fresh approach yet somehow managing to keep it both faithful and familiar, it’s a real shame that it never made it to the finishing line intact.

My Picks Category 2

A difficult choice for Category 2, what with only one entrant but the arrival of Lobo to Remakes Towers has been one of the best things to come from the entire competition. Not only does he have a charming style (currently gracing two other remakes about the place) but all of his entries to the compo were the sort of madness I feel no-one really encourages enough. Sigue Sigue Sputnik is worryingly everything I imagine a Sigue Sigue Sputnik game to be like, scarily to the degree that I’m a bit disturbed in case Lobo has some sort of funnel into my mind. His take on Casablanca is also well worth checking out.

My Picks Category 3

Three stand out games for me in Category 3. Big N’s Raid On Fort Apocalypse near broke my speakers and my ears in a good way and if you’re one of the lucky folk who didn’t find it a tad dogged with technical hitches then you’re in for a rather fun experience. Back to the madness though with the unerring glee of A Kiwi’s Tale and Pauline’s Way. Two very different and utterly insane takes on different eras of platform gaming and both prime examples of how to send a love letter to gaming. Brilliant stuff.

My Picks Category 4

Aside from finally getting the Battlezone remake I’ve been pestering for for years, ultimately the choice I make for Category 4 isn’t necessarily my own. Ok, it is my own in every technical sense, but it’s more for the sheer joy it brought to my 4 year old nipper. Whack A Monty Mole is very much everything I’d hoped for in this category – it’s brash, it’s colourful and it’s easy to pick up and play. Sure, it’s definitely not going to see out the long dark hours of gaming but when something can make a 4 year old grin from ear to ear with utter delight, then I see that as truly a good thing.

My Picks Category 5

I know, I know. There always has to be a loser in every category but man, did it have to be The Eggyard? As brilliant a deconstruction of art games as you could hope for (especially with the comical billing in the readme as Dizzy meets Custer’s Revenge). Stark, minimal and with the added bonus that you don’t have to pay £5 to snuff it, The Eggyard made me laugh far too hard. Sterling, sterling stuff and with a free profound message.

My Picks Category 6

I’ve been trying to avoid the actual winners wherever possible in my picks so far but when something as wonderful as Spare A Thought For The Little Guy comes along, it’s hard to restrain yourself from frothing (not frotting, rudey!) all over yourself and gushing about it’s greatness. Aside from a small niggle with the ladder climbing bumph, this was the absolute highlight of the entire competition for me and it came totally out of the blue. Fantastic.

Honourable nod for Category 6 also goes to Carnivac’s short but immensely sweet C.P.C. Demo.

Well, there you go. An insight into my mind there and a little spotlight on my favourites. There’s a fair few more I’d like to big up, but given space and time is short right now I suggest you go and dig in and investigate for yourself. For now, it’s time, for the judges prizes and the final countdown!

Cue the music… click yourself senseless onto the next page of this news post.

Written by RobF

March 17, 2009 at 8:30 am

Posted in General

Category 1 Results Are In

Thanks to Caff for compiling the list 🙂

Go here and find out.

Written by RobF

February 7, 2009 at 12:18 am

Posted in General

Well, I guess that’s it for now…

The competition is closed, the downloads are up and ready to go. What are you waiting for?

Written by RobF

December 14, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Posted in 1

And so, the end is near….

Don’t forget folks, uploads for the competition finish tomorrow night at midnight 🙂

Written by RobF

December 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Posted in General

Tagged with ,

Are you ready to upload?

If the answer to that question is yes, then you’ll be glad to know that at some point over the next 24 hours you’ll be receiving an email with instructions on how to get your game over to us. If you haven’t registered yet but are planning on entering the competition, fear not as we’ll be running through the new registrations every couple of days and firing off the upload details until the close of registration.

Just a reminder that registration closes on the 2nd December and the competition itself closes on the 13th.

I know we’re running a bit late and it’s my own idiot fault for losing some files I needed, for which you have my sincere apologies.

To make sure you’re prepared, here’s a handy checklist of stuff you’ll need to make sure is in place:

1. You’ll need to make sure you have at least 4 hi-res screenshots of the game. 1 of them must be the title screen. We need these at a minimum of 640×480 remember, folks.

2. Have you included the appropriate splash screen at the start of the game? If not, now is perhaps the time to think about it as it’d be silly to get disqualified for not including it. Don’t forget, retro hardware dev folks have a text file they can sling in.

3. Have you put together your instructions file for the judges? Don’t worry if you want to include information the public won’t get to see as the public will never see the file. Why? Because…

4. Once you’ve got your screenshots and your text file for the judges together, bung them in a folder ready to be zipped up that doesn’t include the game. You’ll be uploading this separately for us to use. We do have a nice filename convention we want you to follow so that we can sort stuff out easily, info will be contained in the email you recieve.

5. Don’t panic yet. We’ll be sending out a couple of emails at a time over the next 24 hours so as not to get blacklisted as dirty evil spammers. If you’ve registered but haven’t received an email by the end of Wednesday night (GMT) then panic on Thursday by all means. It’d be easier if you just dropped into our forum though.

All check? Looking forward to seeing what you’ve all come up with 🙂

Written by RobF

November 25, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Posted in 1

Deadline Extended and Upload Announcement

Due to being knocked down by illness for the past fortnight we’re a little behind schedule and had hoped to begin the uploads this week.

As we’re going to be delaying the start of uploading till the 21st of November, the competition deadline has been extended by 7 days to the 23:59 (GMT) on the 13th December. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause, but we hope that folks can use the extra time to their favour.

This year, we’ll also be allowing people to update their entries from a week after submission for the benefits of the general public only. The version which the judge will view will be the one submitted at the close of the competition deadline.

Upload access will be temporarily removed on the 13th to allow judges to grab and file any submissions and reinstated on the 20th for those wishing to supply an improved/bug fixed/more complete version for the public to play. The update process will be open for two months following reopening of the upload process, after that – I’m afraid you’re on your tod for distributing upgraded versions.

If you’re wishing to submit an entry and haven’t signed up yet, we suggest that you do so as soon as possible as I’ll be mailing out upload information over the course of the next week. Sign ups are open until the 2nd of December, beyond that – no sign up, no upload access..

Cheers, and good luck everyone!

Written by RobF

November 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Posted in General

Tagged with