sixteen things tagged “games”

Sky Force: Reloaded

I installed this game in May 2018 and finally beat it five years later in June 2023. I wish I could somehow figure out the amount of time I’ve spent trying to beat this exquisitely-made scrolling shooter, for it would be the amount of time I’ve spent on planes, in Ubers, sick and bedridden, or just a little bored, which is mostly when I’d play it. Here’s what it looks like.

It’s fine on a phone (even on an iPhone Mini) but I loved beating some harder levels and modes on my giant iPad. It’s free but I paid to remove the ads and nothing else.

On vacation in North Carolina, my brother-in-law started playing this arcade game called 1944: The Loop Master which looked uncannily like Sky Force: Reloaded.

The Loop Master is, in turn, a sequel to 19XX: The War Against Destiny, which looks like if you applied an 8-bit filter to Sky Force: Reloaded and kept the WWII aesthetic of the boss monsters the same but modernized the player’s aircraft. Here’s a complete playthrough:

I tried to find out why it had a “Reloaded” in the names. It’s based on an older game, simply called Sky Force. I look forward to referencing this post in 2030 🕹️

The Chrome Dino

Here’s a fairly recent (Dec 2018) interview with the creators of chrome://dino. It was called Project Bolan (which I had to look up), had 270M games played every month1, with most users coming “from markets with unreliable or expensive mobile data, like India, Brazil, Mexico, or Indonesia” and took quite a bit of development to work on all platforms.

We built it to max out at approximately 17 million years, the same amount of time that the T-rex was alive on Earth… but we feel like your spacebar may not be the same afterwards.

  1. I suppose they know this thanks to the “I agree to everything” button one clicks while installing Chrome… ↩︎

“I have to do this.”

I made a bet at work that involved me eating my Crocs (if I lost, of course), prompting my co-worker to send me this story about Eric Taylor, a “former Magic: The Gathering player and highly regarded Magic columnist, especially during the earlier days of the game” (MTG Wiki), who made a similarly hasty bet and honored its terms:

He went so far as to guarantee Kai couldn’t emerge victorious again, promising to eat his hat should he be proven wrong.

[…] By now a sizeable crowd had gathered to watch the spectacle. EDT began by biting into the rim, but couldn’t tear the material with his teeth. In a quick burst of speed, he reached into his bag, and pulled out a full bottle of Heinz Ketchup and a pair of scissors. Deftly slicing a swatch of material from the top of the hat, he masticated on the felt but found the taste to be offensive.

“This is terrible!”, he exclaimed, unleashing a destructive stream of ketchup all over the table and his headwear. He resumed devouring his hat, making chewing faces akin to Popeye the Sailor eating rotten spinach.

[…] Around the third mouthful, EDT began to wish he had a nacho hat. “This is terrible”, he screamed, banging his jaw against the table to force the hat down. This attracted the attention of Rob Dougherty, from the Boston. “You’re crazy!”, he admonished in the typical Your Move Games tone. Eric just shook his head, gritted his teeth, and said, “I have to do this.

Ben Bleiweiss, ERIC TAYLOR EATS HIS HAT! (emphasis mine)

Gandhi the Annihilator

At least in Civilization:

[. . .] Gandhi tends to be the first to use nuclear weapons, and spares no expense on wiping your civilization off the map. You probably always thought you were crazy — how could a series that prides itself on historical accuracy portray Gandhi so wrong? Well, you’ll be happy to know that both your sanity and Civilization’s historical integrity aren’t at fault. Instead, a bug’s to blame.

In the earlier Civs, leaders are given a set of attributes that dictate their behavior. One such attribute is a number scale associated with aggressiveness. Gandhi was given the lowest number possible, a rating of 1. However, when a civilization adopted democracy, it granted a civilization -2 to opponent aggression levels. This sent Gandhi’s rating of 1 into the negative, which swung it back around to 255 — the highest possible rating available, and thus, the infamous warmonger Gandhi was born.

Geek.com, What caused Gandhi’s insatiable bloodlust in Civilization

And they just left it in there as an homage:

This cyclical aggression scale was fixed in later versions of the game, but Gandhi wasn’t totally cured of his bloodlust. The team fixed Gandhi’s aggression rating, but as an Easter egg paying homage to the earlier aggressive versions of Gandhi, ramped his nuke rating through the roof. So, while it may be difficult to push Gandhi over the edge, he goes from zero to nuclear option once you do.

Via MS.

Prune

Three years late but what an absolutely beautiful game!

“One of my main goals when designing ‘Prune’ was to respect the player’s intelligence and to respect their time, whether that player is 4 or 74,” McDonald said. “So much of the mobile game market just does not do this incredibly simple thing of respecting their players as actual human beings whose time is precious.”

– Business Week, “How a half-fallen tree inspired the hottest iPhone game right now

Screenshot from "Prune"
Screenshot from "Prune"
Screenshot from "Prune"
Screenshot from "Prune"
Screenshot from "Prune"
Screenshot from "Prune"
Screenshot from "Prune"