Favourite computer games of all time. [2]

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:43 pm

{{ Interesting because there is already an online LotR's game. }}

https://www.lotro.com/en/game

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:14 am

Well Amazon is not making an MMORPG, which is what LotRO is.

Oh, never mind, they are. Weird. Well, fine by me! Either it will be good and interesting. Or it will be bad. If the former, maybe I'll even play a little. If the latter, I can complain about it!

Edit: wait wait wait, I remember now, hearing about this last year or something. I don't think there's any news of it being an MMORPG, necessarily.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:49 am

{{ I just bought Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 from Steam and Tempest 4000. You've probably never heard of them. Minotaur works in VR but its perfectly fine 2D on a monitor or tv too. But VR is not why I bought it.
I bought it because its made by Jeff Minter. You've probably never heard of him either but he has been a constant in games throughout my entire gaming life.
He is bit of a programming legend to me and many Brit gamers.

A hippy and founder of Lllamasoft which is him and a mate these days and was originally just him with his mum doing the business stuff (he keeps llamas, and sheep among other things somewhere up a mountain in Wales). His games are often reworks (with inserted llamas, camels and sheep) of classic games, sometimes official like Defender 2000 and the game I want to talk about Tempest 4000, and sometimes unofficial like Llamatron which is a home version of arcade classic robotron, only you know with llamas.

Llamatron


Mr Minter as well as being a hippy and seemingly all round decent fellow started out on the 8-bit UK scene, programming stuff for the vic20, spectrum and c64 and the like. But he is continually put out games for various formats,computers, consoles, phones, just about every platform at one point or another. So as I grew up and went from my spectrum to my St to my Amiga and then onto consoles with ps1 and 2 the xbox and finally onto pc, so too has a Jeff Minter game popped up somewhere along the line on every platform I've ever owned.

There are certain things which mark a game as a Minter game, the appearance of llamas and camels and sheep aside. They tend to hark back to the glory games of the arcade shooter, when the aim was you against the machine beating that high score and gameplay was king. So expect super tight controls, well designed and thought out enemies and patterns, increasing arcade difficulty, and fairness - a hallmark for me of a Minter game, they can be brutally hard at times but they are always fair, they never cheat, you always know what you did wrong.
Oh and frantic, they are often that too with tons of enemies, particle explosions, all sorts thrown at the screen.

Though you may not know the name of Mr Minter if you ever owned an xbox360 and used the built in 'visualizer' which played trippy psychedelic patterns in time to whatever music cd you had in then you've experienced a little bit of Minter as that program, Neon,was his work and set the standard for such programs to this day.

Neon


His game philosophy is best summed up by the man himself-

'I work entirely in the abstract. I am really into this idea of bringing together the whole audio/reactive light synthesiser stuff and the video game stuff. And in doing that I make a different kind of game. I'm not making a game where I'm trying to tell a story. I am not trying to simulate anything or make anything realistic. What I am actually doing, when I design a game, I'm trying to get to a feeling, I'm trying to get to the pure essence of video game. It doesn't matter what the graphics are saying as long as what they are saying is nice. It doesn't matter what the audio is doing as long as it fits in with what the graphics are doing. I'm trying to make a feedback loop that includes you and the graphics and the audio and everything, and just gives you that experience of getting into the zone.'

I've decided to discuss Tempest 4000 (though this also applies to Tempest 2000 on Atari Jaguar) not only because its one of my favourite games, I'd say 2000 is slightly easier (slightly!) than Tempest4000 if not as sharp and with occasional slowdown when its super frenetic. But either version epitomises the Minter brand in many ways, but you might want to try 2000 first if only  because you can download and run the jaguar emulator, tiny program simple to use, the rom for the game and play it for free with ease.

For those who don't know the Atari Jaguar was the console that finally killed off Atari, an unmitigated disaster with too few games and even fewer that took advantage of the machines abilities. Of the few that shone however and probably the best game on the machine, is Jeff Minters Tempest 2000.
Tempest started off life as a classic Atari arcade machine back in the early days when the only way to do any sort of 3d was with wireframe graphics. Tempest used this to its advantage, using the wireframe to form grids, or webs. The player 'ship' was stuck on the edge of the web and could only go around it, shooting down the web at advancing enemies. And that was pretty much it. You completed a web and got a new shaped one and repeated against harder and more foes.

Original arcade Tempest


What Minter did to it was turn it into an ingenious twitch shooter with psychedelic graphics and a dance track.
He retained everything about the original game then improved it.
Its cunning lies in its design. Staring from the first web you begin simply. The controls are straightforward, you can move left and right. You can fire a weapon down the web at enemies, you have a one use per level kill everything on screen weapon, the Superzapper, and once you collect the powerup for it a jump button, which is so ingenious I'll come back to it. And an ai bot power up to help you out on a level.

Tempest 2000 (jaguar)


Each level follows a similar pattern. You appear on the edge of a web, enemies appear in the distance, at first they are off the end of the web and represented as coloured dots- this is hugely useful as before they 'land' on the web you have a chance to line up on the right line and pick enemies according to threat as each has its own colour.
Once you start shooting enemies they will drop powerups. These are essential. The first you one will upgrade your main weapon to be faster, the third one you collect will enable your jump ability. This lets you temporarily leave the web but you can still shoot (and be shot) but you cannot be grabbed, more on that in moment, or fried, that too. But the order of the powerups sometimes changes forcing you to adapt tactics.
Jumping is essential as if an enemy gets to your end of web they will start moving around it randomly and increasingly quickly till they find you grab you and pull you down into the web, jumping is the best way to deal with edge enemies.
Another great feature related to jumping are the enemies themselves, they come in great variety of types and all do something different. You have straight forward enemies that move in a straight line up the web shooting at you. You have ones that hop across the web moving on the edges of lines making them hard to hit, others split in two when shot, some create spikes that block of parts of the web till shot clear and will prevent you shooting enemies moving along the spike, and some like the yellow buggers Ive come to hate will electrify the line they are sitting on, making jumping to deal with them the preferred tactic.

The way this all increases as you progress is part of the genius of the design. Each new type of enemy is added one by one, allowing you to see what it does and to devise a best means to deal with it, a few levels later something else will be added to the mix and before you know it your dealing with multiple tactics on a single web in a frenzy of shooting, jumping and trying to plan ahead.
This isn't just a shooter its a strategy game at the speed of a shooter and its only when you release your brain is as exhausted as your trigger finger that you've been concentrating so hard.

Tempest 4000 (pc and consoles)


What Jeff Minter does better than anyone else is he captures the feel and aesthetic of those arcade machines and then he translates them to a modern gaming experience without destroying what made them good in the first place, their gameplay. Everything feels like its built from the gameplay level up and Tempest 2000 or 4000 are a great example of that. Even whilst particles are flying everywhere, scores are filling the screen, and mayhem is ensuing it somehow never gets in the way, never obscures your view or attention, when your playing there is just the game and the effects which all blend together to drive it.
Oh and no boss levels! In the words of Jeff Minter -

'I believe there should be a nice difficulty curve, it should ramp up nicely, I don't believe there should ever be spikes in difficulty curve such as you get with boss levels. I hate boss levels in games, its horrible.. bosses get right on my tits. So there are no bosses in my games, there are difficulty incriminates.'

On top of this how you progress is somewhat genius. Say for example you make it to level 7 with 5 lives (you start with 3 but can gain more as you play) but then you get annihilated. When you start the game again you can choose to start at that level with the 5 lives you have- it always retains as your starting point the best you've done. Conversely if you scrape off the level but only have 1 life left and die on the next level then though can restart from there you will only have 1 life when you do, making it very tricky, but encouraging you to go back and do battle on the previous one so when you get as far again you will have a new restart with more lives. Its an ingenious way to keep you progressing as well as adding incentive to replay a level or two to build up those lives and get further and gain a new start point with plenty lives for next time. This prevents the difficultly and freneticness of his games from ever becoming insurmountably frustrating, a few tries and you'll soon get off that tricky level and have a new start point with full lives (or more) to continue from.

So do yourself a favour, get a Jeff minter game- personal recommendations are Tempest 2000 or 4000, Llamatron, and Gridrunner.

Gridrunner (Pc and console)


Tempest 4000 and Gridrunner (under the Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 with the bonus of Goatup with it) are available on Steam and together shouldn't set you back more than about £15 all in. If you want to get to the very essence of gaming, you have to play a Jeff Minter game at least once in your life. But be warned they can be quite addictive and are exemplifiers of that 'just one more go' feeling.

}}

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A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldorion.


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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:37 pm

{{ Speechless.}}


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*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
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