Monday, October 9, 2017

Branephart (TM) for October, or Today We Say Goodbye to A Living Legend...

So many games on Facebook to play, so little time, so little space left on my PC hard drive.  Now, as you can tell from the orange arrow, two did caught... catch my eye(s).  First of all, there's Horny Fish, obviously, in between Travel Quest and 777: The Devil's Slot Machine Brother.  But what's that other one?  You know, with the demented looking man-frog hybrid?  An angry frog with Redneck teeth?  What could that be called?  Angry Frog?  Frog's Revenge?  Fiery Frogs from France, in which you take revenge on humans by preparing humans' legs for your new alien overlords to eat in their new Satanic restaurant?  No, nothing so fanciful, of course.  No, that one's called... wait for it... Everwing.  Lots of games with names like that on the ever-widening, yet less diverse, gamescape.  Neverfall, Foreverdream, Skywater, Aftercastle, Beforemaze... they practically write themselves at this point!  What about the Pink Bunkadoo?  Where's the whimsy, the lack of sexiness?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Championship Lode Runner

Well, when you have an institution like Lode Runner, a blogger's probably gotta blog about it at some point, particularly a video game blogger.  I mean, say what you will, but there's videos on YouTube of people playing the game on Nintendo, for Gawd'z zake!  ...oh, fine, I'll post a link to it.  JUST ONE.
As for me, well... as you can see from the attached pic, I only got to level 43, because I'm using the version for the Atari emulator, and there seems to be a glitch with level 43.  A little bit disappointing, as my fellow gamers can attest to.  Even more disappointing is the Atari emulator version of regular Lode Runner because there's all kind of lines and junk.  Sure, I could try and go ahead and play anyway, lines and all, but meh.  If I get really desperate here, I'll post about individual levels, as I sort of did with Sudoku... I mean, Sokoban.

Monday, May 22, 2017


...yay for me, I know.  But isn't that what blogging is all about?  The little victories?  Now what will I have to nag at me all these livelong days?
Of course, I cheated.  I started thumbing through the pages of Atarimania, looking under the category of "Arcade-Miscellaneous."  Never in a million years expecting to find it there.  I mean, after all, it's a side scroller, right?  It's a bit like Defender, n'est ce pas?  Except that you can only go right, and there are no people to save.  Okay, well, it's a bit like Air Strike, is it not?  Forgive me... Airstrike, but without the ability to shoot.  And to a lesser extent, the second level of Lunar Leeper.  Love that game., seriously.  No ability to shoot.  Even Vorrak / Zardon lets you shoot to a limited extent!
Okay, enough comparisons.  You get to the final part of the level... make sure to get enough fuel.  You'll figure it out... and THEN you finally get to shoot!  However, it's at this point that the game feels a bit unfinished.  Maybe that's the programmer's thing, I don't know.  The gimmick they're known for, if only in the database world.  I mean, hey, if they paid $39.95 back in the day for this one, why not the next, right?  And the next after that?  I tried to get to what seems like the game's conclusion, and poof.  Error message.  Error message in Atari emulator.  Always depressing when an emulation breaks down.  Or never starts, like Floyd of the Jungle!  I gotta play different games.  Bristles, too.  Bristles really REALLY doesn't work in emulation form.  Especially when you turn right.  Or maybe left.  If there's a way to play Bristles and not have to back out of a corner... AND THERE ISN'T... okay, on to next game.  Also, the reward structure of "Dark Star" is a little weird.  I mean, why should a person get points just for moving?  What is that?  That's just inflation!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Under Attack! Under Attack! My Facebook Account is Under Attack!

Whelp, it finally happened.  For those of you who've read this blog regularly... I've got one follower over here... RUSSIA!  Nope.  Didn't work.  They don't care for my take on video games, apparently.  Anyway, I consider myself something of a computer expert, even though my dad apparently would disagree with that.  Apparently I'm just a user of a computer.  But I do have Norton Anti-Virus, so I normally feel terribly safe as I go out there on the wild waves of the internet.  And I only recently learned that Zynga poker chips, while seemingly worthless at first glance, people can and do buy them with their credit cards.  And hackers are apparently almost as interested in stealing these Zynga poker chips as other Zynga poker players are.  Most players try to win them in fair contests, I'll give them that, but others use pics of bikini-clad girls to lure their victims.
...ooh!  Some use the chat window to sell their wares.  You go to a website like "" and find a simple two-field web page.  Guess what you have to enter?  That's RIGHT!  Your email and password!  Found that out the hard way.  Yes, I was just that naive.  Of course, the arms race is always on, and the hackers find new ways to do things.  They seem to have violated the sanctity of my Yahoo! Mail accounts, for example.  If I leave a Yahoo! Mail window open too long, I'll get back to it and find that I'm being prompted to save a new .js file.  That's JavaScript, for those of you who don't know.  Something ELSE I vowed to study once.  Another reason why I'll never get anywhere in life, either this or the next.  Of course, the .js file is always from some weird-ass webpage.  I forget the specific web address, but it always looks like someone just randomly clacked away on the keyboard and then eventually turned it into a bonafide web site.  Something like "a;oguihnxf;"  Well, the latest and greatest trick was a window that pops up while you're playing Zynga poker, and it says something about wanting you to call a 1-800 number, something like 1-855-255-****... I should of have written it down.  They seemed like they knew a lot more about me and the internet provider I have than the average hacker.  Oh well.  I should point out that my dad is actually the primary user of the poker account, but now that we've gone from about a billion and a half poker chips to EXACTLY 1 million, well... all bets are off.  He swears that he will never, ever, EVER play that Zynga poker EVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN.  Never, not once, not ever, never, ever again and that's final... unless I can get it working again?  No?  Sounds about right.  Two college degrees and he can't even get the computer to work.  Well, he will therefore NEVER EVER EVER EVER again play that Zanga poker... working yet?  No?  Figures.  OTHER dads are proud of their hacker sons!  Why can't mine have similar pride?  At all?
Anyway, I probably can't get into the specifics of how one goes about getting their Zynga account back........................ But more importantly, stay safe.  Watch out for those hackers.  They can only prosecute so many of them, you know.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Yeah, Asteroids is fun.  But do you ever get the feeling like you're just a speck in a petri dish, battling the giant anemones... or whatever?  Amoebas with flagellum and what not?  Well, you might get that feeling if you go to except, of course, for the cat's paws, and the giant douche-y targets you're supposed to scratch.  Apparently, the game is too libelous for certain lawyers, so the game might have to move to a different web site.  Stay vigilant, gamers.  As always, the party goes underground...

Monday, March 13, 2017

Frank Cohen's Scooter... back to Level ONE!!!!

OH NO YOU DON'T... I've got 36,000 points to score in other games, thank you very mutch.

Frank Cohen's "Scooter," Level 8

Wait a minute... is this the LAST level?  There's no level above us now!  The baddies from level 1 are back... I'm still trying to think of how to describe them.  Half robot, half gumball machine... from Hell.  Perfect.  Pardon me, rephrase... FROM HELL. 
And you can't kill them this time, so they're extra deadly, especially when you try to finish the upper left hand corner of the game board, because they can't seem to leave.
Oh, this is the everything level, no question about it!  You got a magnet, one of those transport thingies, a free pass back to Level 7 should you decide to take it, the wavy vents of Brewbiz, the bullet pipes... too bad probably a good thing that this isn't a Letterman bit, because there'd be a Pavlovian ding noise after each thing listed.

Frank Chloe's... Cohen's "Scooter", Level Seven

Ah, my lucky level.  The Ass Lightning Roombas from Hell are the enemy again.  Must be the designer's favourite or sumpthin.  Now, here's another detail that makes me wish I was playing Brewbiz again... the deadly wavy lines from the vents are back!  Why, I didn't even bother to see what death by them was like... yup, same stupid "Scooter" death.  I prefer the Brewbiz way.  When you get fatally killed in Brewbiz, aside from falling off the screen completely, you land on the closest ground, and sit there holding your giant gourd-shaped head.  The music that accompanies this fate better underscores the worry of it all... at least, for me, anywho.  The other new feature this level has to offer is a new type of transport.  As you can see, it's at the top of the game board and it transports you... TO THE PREVIOUS LEVEL!!! OH OH OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  Makes me wish I played this way back when on an actual Atari computer.  Why, I'm imagining right now what my reaction would be.  Shock at first, then trying to figure out what other games have such a feature.  This might be the only one!  As long as it doesn't cost you a Scooter life... nope!  Just the trauma of not getting ahead in the game of life, or the game of "Scooter."  Can't get enough of that.

Frank Choe... Cohen's "Scooter," Level 6

The Ass Lightning Roombas from Hell are back.  Love those things.  The new feature this time?  Why, magnets, of course!  Another video game mainstay.  Magnets, bitch!  Naturally, they have to have an antidote, and the game provides that, in lieu of those enemy-neutralizing keys.  They got a new theme song!  Help that hopes!  I mean... hope that helps!

Frank Cohen's "Scooter," Level 5

Whelp, there it is!  The purple-y level 5.  The balloons on wheels from level 1 are back.  The only new feature (visible) is that there's a transport that will take you from one isolated part of the level to another... I'm pretty sure it's a Fire Code hazard.  You know, only the movie Spaceballs seems to address the fact that non-Jason Statham-based transporters of matter might malfunction.  I mean, every thing man-made, made by men (and women) eventually breaks down, right?  Take our crumbling infrastructure, for one.  As Republican politicians often say, "Our infrastructure is crumbling... and getting crumbling-er."  But let's leave that aside for now, because there is a whimsical side to "Scooter"'s new-fangled transports.  When you step on one of these transports, well... my words fail to do it justice.  Probably.  Needles to say, these transports seem a lot less high-tech when you pass through them.  Good gaming tip: once you use them, you can't use them for a couple seconds, thereby giving you ample time to stomp on the dots inevitably near their entrance.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Candy Crush - Regular

...still?  Yes, still.  Well, I just wanted to take this opportunity to make an emergency appeal to d1s72spon8oqz4 at cloudfront dot net... Um, cut me some slack, will you,  PLEASE?  Is the local storage on my computer REALLY THAT IMPORTANT?  REALLY?  THAT?  IMPORTANT?

Francis Ford Cohen's "Scooter", Level 4 - Blue Level Blue

You disappoint me, Internet.  Not the content, just the lack of bandwidth I seem to have.  See, I can either download a 75MB album from YouTube or play Candy Crush (regular)... but I can't have both.  Never should've given up being a grad student.  Anyway, yeah.  Even the players of "Cohen's Towers" on YouTube are, like, I'll do it, but I'm not going to actually beat the game here.  Too much psychological torture.  Well, the mail room's tough!  It's not for the faint of heart!
Anyway, we're back to the Roombas that shoot lightning out their ass.  Especially frustrating when you get to the farthest quadrant of this particular game board.  We get the unbeatable combination of floor escalators and those damn bullet-shooting pipes again.  Well, the pipes need all the unfair advantages they can get, frankly.  They're kinda little to no good by themselves.  They benefit from distractions.  It's like when the Three Stooges try to multitask, or how you have three of the four Pac-Man ghosts going after you like a bitch.  Meanwhile, Clyde's just running around going Doop dee Doo dee Doo, like he's on the Weed, you know?  NOT explicitly chasing after you, and yet!  Who gets you every time?  That bastard Clyde!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Frank Cohen's "Scooter", Level 3

Oh well.  I've got seven days of vacation left.  This isn't exactly what I had in mind for it, but I'm a person what likes to finish what they start.  I mean, it ain't no way to treat a broken heart, but hey!  Looks great on a résumé, am I right folks?  Damn.  Looks like we need a new computer desk.  Anyway, I just realized!  Here's a glitch for ya.  Now, Scooter can duck, but only when he's against a south wall.  I'm assuming he's a "he", most of these video game avatars typically are.  Well, that's for another blog.  See, here's the deal... as with most games where a character can duck, you typically push the joystick down... um, we'll get into joysticks another time.  It's what we used to use to play games with at home, and in an arcade... we'll get into arcades later.  You'll see them in 1980s movies occasionally.  So, you press the down arrow key to move a character down, or if they can duck, to make the character duck.  I think "Jungle Hunt" comes to mind; at least, that one stage/level with the bouncy boulders and the hillside.  Here, you can't duck unless you're against a wall!  If THAT'S not some kind of glitch, well... I don't know what is.  Let's just say it's a runtime error that doesn't crash the whole game, let's put it that way.
The enemies of Level 3?  The birds from "Ghost Chaser."  I mean, why waste perfectly good animation?  I mean, why do it?  The power pills don't work against them, so keep that in mind.  Oh, and there's a new board feature: escalators on the floor.  Whatever you call them.  There's that one on Level 3 of Hard Hat Mack, for one.  It's a rich video game tradition.  Ooh!  They were also in Brewbiz to an extent, but they didn't seem to slow down that avatar by much... and he was obese!  No, seriously, just a Homer Simpson-lookin' fat motherf... a fat guy, basically.  All the fat guy that an 8-pixel-wide avatar would allow.  If Mr. Potato Head were a human fat guy, if you will.  Another anomaly for Frank Cohen, who usually has tall, lanky avatars.  Speaking of Cohen, why is Cohen's Towers so hard to play?  Anyone ever figure out THAT game?  Time to check Youtube for the answer

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Frank Cohen's "Scooter" - Level 2

...oh, I guess all the levels are the same size.  Not that the preview over your head will help much.  Or does it?  It's about 40% of the next level above your head, really, when you get right down to it!  I don't think Cohen was good enough, however, to have the next level baddies in play up there.  Okay, maybe he was, as he also seems to have mastered the art of having multiple player/missiles on different vertical stripes of the game board, as did Atari and Activision.  More Display Listus Interruptus, I'm afear'd.  But you gotta leave SOMETHING to the imagination, right?
Anyway, the baddies.  They're some kind of floating Roombas from hell here.  Sure, you got the power pills and all, but they're quite ineffective against these new threats to further game play.  And sure, you can duck under them... unless they fire lightning bolts out of their bottom.  Seriously, though, they do that.  Borrowing the lightning from his "Brewbiz," it's been re-born here as a disincentive to duck under the floating room-bots.  Reminds me of the flying saucers in Gubble 1.  Love those things.  They seem to be flying far above you, and then in the next instant WHAM!  Right on ol' Gubble's alien noggin.
Oh, and DON'T even get me started on those groups of four tubes.  They're kind of like the vacuum cleaners that suck up the marble in Atari's classic "Marble Madness," but without the personality.  These tubes in "Scooter" fire slow, pulsating bullets at you, one after the other, and they make a diagonal line.  It's an art to learn how to not touch them.  So far, I think they can brush you on your right side, but not on the left.  Anything bad touches you, and you make the Ollie's Follies / Ghost Chaser sound effect, but unlike those two where you fall completely off the screen, in "Scooter" you only get sucked down into the floor.  Strangely anti-climactic.  I should probably point out that they're not always in groups of four, but... I think that's it for this level in terms of surprises and features.  Each of these affairs seems to be a 16 long by 5 wide grid, wouldn't you say?  Well, you gotta remember... this is a 16 to 32K machine we're talking about here.  Every bit counts.  Quite literally.

Frank Cohen's "Scooter", Level 1

Always good to start at Level 5.... I mean, One.  Now, I've noticed something, and that thing is this: the older I get, the more I dislike certain types of randomness.  In this case, the case of "Scooter," there's the randomness of the noise made when you eat a dot... sorry, that's Pac-Man.  In "Scooter," you walk on dots.  With your feet.  For 50 points.  I forget how much a power pill... sorry, a key, is worth.  Yes, much like Frank's "Ollie's Follies," there are "power pills" that give you temporary superiority over your many, many enemies, allowing you to send them to the cornfield with impunity.  However, in "Scooter," they return quite quickly, often appearing just off screen right in front of you, like in the cartoonies for the tiddly-winkies.  One of the pleasures of 1990's PC classic "Dangerous Dave" by John Romero, which I can't easily play anymore... wait.  It might work on my Windows Vista machine.  Now if I could only get the CD player to work!
But back to the instant case.  Frank Cohen was one of the great, prolific video game auteurs.  One of the reasons for this was that he had a lot of tools in his toolbox.  Note the scoreboard from the ungainly "Brewbiz."  Note the sound effects from "Ollie's Follies" and "Ghost Chaser."  Note the lack of passwords allowing you to skip ahead... could really use one or two of those right now.  But there's one thing I haven't seen in his work before... note the use of many colors on the bad guys in level 1.  Did he have an Activision intern that week?  Giving the 256x8 player missile stripe many vertical ribbons of color is their stock and trade, damn it!  I believe they call it Display List Interruption.  More pushing of the 6502 to its very low breaking point.  Also, there's no pomp and circumstance when you finish a level.  There's a little celebration at the end of an Ollie's Follies level, no?

Atari Emulator -> Frank Cohen's "Scooter"

Three.  Words.  Period.  Anyway, when you get a programmer like the prolific Frank Cohen, you're bound to get some repeats... and when you've got a slow-ass modem like I do, you're bound to get really tired of it.  Reminds me!  I was supposed to install a new one!  I must visit the website of my ISP.  Better make a note of it and slap it to my fourhead.  Anyway, class, we are now going to take a look at his copyrighted 1985 effort, and it's called "Scooter," which is probably the nickname of a tall, thin guy he once knew.  The real-life Scooter was an interesting character: always getting in one form of trouble or another, usually able to use arbitrage to get out of most of it.  Unfortunately, the Scooter of Frank Cohen's "Scooter" leads a much more mundane existence.  He's trapped in a realm of mazes, the next of which seems to be dangling over his head like the Sword of Damascus... Damacleese... Damacleez?  ...the Sword of Gideon.  He can't jump, unless it's over an air vent.  He can duck, but a lot of good it will do him with certain enemies that seem to shoot lightning bolts out of their ass.  He can collect Pac-Man-like power pills, but a lot of good it will do him with certain enemies that seem to shoot lightning bolts out of their ass... and the birds!  There's birds on one of the levels.  Anyway, I have to go make a salad, so we'll look at the individual levels a little later on.
...oops!  Bad screen cap.  Here's just the intro screen and... boy, I tells ya.  Those were the days.  As any frequent user of Atari 8-bit computers, even slanted lettering like this was enough to push the already overheated 6502 to its breaking point.  And more than 4 colors?  And mixing Graphics 0 with... ANY other mode?  Next-level sh... stuff.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Atari Emulator -> Frank Cohen's "The Scrolls of Abadon"

When you get certain game programmers like Frank Cohen, you will often know what you're in for.  As with "Ollie's Follies" and "Ghost Chaser," "The Scrolls of Abadon" has a musical theme that has the same low D and G notes pounding through it, but "Abadon"'s theme is surprisingly upbeat and seems to be of a faster tempo than the other two.
As for the game itself, well... those familiar with the Atari and its limitations as a game machine will be wowed by the usage of perspective.  Even diagonal scrolling would push the 6502 and 32K of RAM to its limits.  Alas, on my desktop, the Atari emulator adds some extra bits when the player moves down.  You know, player missile glitches and what not.  See, the old Atari 8-bits had these player missile things: vertical stripes that were eight pixels wide and 256 pixels tall, and if you tried to move a small character within said vertical stripe, you always had to make sure to erase any trailing bits that might get left behind, especially if your game had deadly walls that the player missile couldn't touch or walk through.
In certain levels of "The Scrolls of Abadon," the player will come across various "scrolls" that give valuable game tips, under the guise of being the diary entries of a previous player of the game, clearly driven insane by the mendacity... mundane-ness of it all.  But I did figure out that the filing cabinet that drops into the maze is a beneficial thing, if only worth a couple of points.  Also, I will admit that it's unusual in a maze game that a player will dictate the direction he can go in the maze as the game progresses.  Whereas Pac-Man is a free spirit and can travel at will, the avatar in "Abadon" leaves a trail of arrows every time he or she eats a dot... I mean, picks up an amaurote... amulet?  Amulates, they're called.  You have to type "WALK" to be able to walk in the opposite direction of the arrows you leave behind.  Also, you type "ICE" to freeze the very slow enemies that you can't help running into anyway.  And of course, they're still "deadly to the touch." ...okay, that's about all of that I can take.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Facebook -> Maz(e) Temple

As any regular reader of this blog will tell you, I'm a big believer in branching out and trying new games... okay, I don't put that into practice a whole lot, but what fan of mazes wouldn't be curious about something called "The Maze Temple"?  Egg-zactly!  Of course, I'm having a little trouble getting past this "Loading..." level.  See, I don't think a game should be so hard that you can't even play it, but whatever.  I'm no expert!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Atari Emulator -> Hot Lips

While I'm waiting for Candy Crush (regular) to load, AGAIN... if there's a more perfect game than London Software's "Hot Lips" from 1982, well... I don't want to know about it.  Sure, there's no incentive for checking every thirty minutes, and there's no easy way that Facebook's made to post Hot Lips updates to your feed.  It's from a simpler gaming time, but it's really all a gamer needs to get their adrenalin(e) flowing.  It's well within the Pac-Man family of games, but there's no need to gorge yourself on dots.  Maybe it's more like Crossfire taht way.  There's a bonus thing you have to try and get to, but it's not necessary.  How nice is that?  No pressure, if you make it over to it, fine.  If not, no big deal / whoop.  It's only worth 10 points anyway, and it's not even a power pill!  How rip-off is that?
Other than Smasher, I can't think of a game where you have to try and lure your dumb opponents to their doom.  Maybe it'll come to me.  So, like Pac-Man, you've got four bad guys chasing you, but to get rid of them, you have to get them to pass through the "hot lips" of the title: a giant mouth in the middle of the screen.  If they touch the mouth's white teeth, away they go.  And you get 50 points to boot!  What more do you need?  Oh right... a dis-incentive.  Well, the longer you play, the more red blocks appear in the maze.  You pass through those very slowly, so you have to try and avoid them, because the bad guys will probably get you before you get through even one of those red square devils.  When that happens, you hear your death march, only it's more of the "nyaah nyaah" type.  Also unusual for a video game.

Hot Lips at Mushca

Hot Lips at Atarimania