Arcade Sports Games need to Make a Comeback

4 08 2015

I haven’t really talked much about game dev stuff recently. Mostly because it’s all been in the background, unless I manage to do a Pixel Daily. This past month was kinda hectic.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Splatoon but my the room where the WiiU is keeps getting taken up by other stuff so not as much time for that, it’s a shame, but hey at least I got 4 gear re-rolls for nothing (and squids for free?…I guess?). So I’ve also been playing some older games too, including ones I never got to have a proper go at before.

I picked up a copy of Mario Superstars Baseball for the Nintendo Gamecube a few weeks ago and have been slowly playing through that. It’s an interesting game, probably one of the last somewhat well-known baseball games that doesn’t utilize an MLB license (even Konami’s MLB Power Pros, natch, gave service to that).

This game is another one of the Mario games that advances the “Mario and co. are just actors on a stage” because for some bizarre reason in the Mushroom Kingdom everyone has decided “baseball is awesome” and they used their massive Mario Bros. royalty checks to build themed baseball parks. Then Bowser, because Bowser is always that one guy you know who has to prove himself better in all things, be it sports, racing, board games, or ruling small fictional countries consisting of fungus people, decides he’s going to challenge everyone else to see who’s the best.

Also, I don’t think a spiked metal club is a regulation bat.

This forms the “Challenge” mode of the game, where you walk around the world map going to everyone’s ballpark and playing them in an attempt to level up your players and also win over their players. You do this by fulfilling special conditions during the game (like striking certain players out or getting hits off of certain players). This allows you to supplement your team with not only named characters, but random goons like Toads, Shyguys, Goombas, and Koopas. Also strange is the fact that Mario’s team has himself and Luigi on it, and Yoshi’s Team has Baby Mario and Baby Luigi on it. So again, I think everyone is just actors at this point, either that or there’s some time shenanigans going on.

Luigi Za Warudo

But I digress. So far in Challenge mode the games go very fast. They’re only 3 innings long (unless you go into extra innings which stop at 6 if there’s a tie). There’s also not a whole lot of downtime either since we don’t have long intros for players and whatnot, or time for commentary except for the weirdly nasally voice of (I’m guessing) a Lakitu. I’m only guessing that because Lakitu is your tutorial of sorts, doing things like passive-agressively snarking about your initial lineup (though let’s be fair, the fact that just about everyone’s team is basically 6 random mooks plus 3 named characters is sorta chuckle-worthy), and telling you how the map screen works which is kind of helpful.

Speaking of other chuckle-worthy things, some of the team names are…special. Well one in particular. The D.K. Kongs. The Donkey Kong Kongs. DK named a team with his last name twice and the roster is only 33% actual Kongs (himself, Diddy, and Dixie. Everyone else is Koopa Troopas and Goombas). Then again what else would one expect from someone who brought a Boxing Glove to a baseball game?

No, Seriously

No, Seriously

On the other hand, maybe he knew one day Nintendo would call upon him to be a secret boss in Punch-Out for the Wii, who can say. Anyway, also in Challenge mode you can play minigames to get coins, which will let you do things like get steroids buy items and powerups that do things like unlock special pitches for some players or improve overall team speed.

The various ballparks are all pretty interesting. Marios is normal, of course, but everyone else apparently decided OSHA is only for people from Brooklyn and thus just did whatever. Princess Peach has built her ballpark in the courtyard of the castle, not even bothering to trim the hedges, and putting random blocks up above to mess up trajectories. And balls that carom off of those are still live and can be caught for an out.

I think this is from an earlier build but w/e

DK has built his ballpark on a river full of Klaptraps and apparently also a barrel factory running through it so getting decked by fallilng barrels hurts a lot. Yoshi has built a ballpark that has Pirahna plants guarding the foul lines and can spit the ball wherever they feel like. Wario built a park in the desert with Chain Chomps. If Bowser’s ballpark isn’t built over an active volcano I’ll actually be surprised.

The game is surprisingly in-depth for what it is, giving the player the ability to steal bases and have players grow as they accomplish goals which you can see detailed, and it’s a lot of fun and very fast-paced.

There are some drawbacks, for one thing the only way to throw faster pitches is that you have to hold down the A button, which starts a charge up animation for your pitcher and depending on who you have pitching it could mean you’ll get ridiculous nonsense like Mario jumping up into the air every time he throws the ball (nowhere near as bad as ShyGuy’s though). This is why I use Luigi as my pitcher because his charge up is fast and no-nonsense. Just spins around like a maniac and whips the ball. Also there are Star Pitches you can do but the timing on those is still a mystery to me. Though it’s hilarious to see a CPU opponent do a star pitch only for me to bunt the ball.

Anyway the whole point of this was that we really need Arcade-style sports games to come back. Back in the 90s you had NBA Jam, Base Wars, Super Baseball 2020, Double Dribble, Mutant League Football, Mutant League Hockey, NFL Blitz, etc. etc. Those games were a lot of fun and didn’t get too caught up in minutae of stats (by the way, sports nerds are the biggest nerds and it’s hilarious to see people who know what WAR or WHIP is, or have their own fantasy sports team, look down on video game players, but that’s for another time). We need these to come back somehow. In a world where only Sony is making MLB games, we need “Oh! That’s a Baseball!”

Yes I made another Jojo reference, deal with it.



Moving into Alpha: Shuffle Breaker Dev Blog

15 03 2014

Alpha Rev 4

I’m probably not using the term right but I might as well call this an alpha version of Shuffle Breaker. I’ve made a few more adjustments including fixing how the player drops the puck onto the playing field, and allowing for a delayed start of sorts so that you’re not immediately thrust into the action. This is however the 4th revision of the Alpha Phase, hence the Rev 4. You can download the alpha version here. I do recommend reading the README file for control information.

You can download the Alpha here (Windows only)

Observe how nGUI it is: Shuffle Breaker Dev Blog

15 09 2013

Ok so I know it’s been almost 3 months since I posted, and that’s pretty bad. I’ve just been busy with life stuff while working on my game things one little bit at a time. That said, I have made some progress.

First off, nGUI has been implemented into the game.

Beforehand it looked like this:

Shufflepuckin'Now it looks like this:


Soccer TimesAs you can see I’ve also implemented new table styles as well, and changed how the paddles look. The AI has also been improved along with that. In addition to having an nGUI scoreboard, I now also have an nGUI-backed main menu.

Drop Down, Reverse DirectionThe options menu for now is just in control of selecting the table styles, but I love how well it’s working out.

As for what’s next, I’ll be working on implementing a 2-player local mode, as well as making a few more tweaks, including adding vertical movement to the paddles for some more challenging play.


Punt: Suburban Assault Riders Dev Blog #3

27 02 2013

Welp, due to some life stuff (like moving again) and changing up the way that Suburban Assault Riders would play, it looks like I’m going to have to punt on this month for One Game a Month. It pains me to do so but I’d rather have something working done and keep my sanity intact rather than pull 2 all-nighters and wind up with something half-finished that doesn’t work right.

The big change came because I decided to change the game from quasi-free-roam like Jackal into a Spy Hunter-esque vertical shooter. This also required some careful manipulation of things like camera controls for auto scrolling. As such I still don’t even have a full level, much less enemies to populate it with. For comparison this is the old viewpoint.

Suburban Assault Riders Old View

And here’s the new one, which is more reminiscent of an arcade cabinet’s view

Suburban Assault Riders New View

Still, I’m going to keep with it (and most likely will be working on this game into March as well) since I still love the idea it’s just a matter of getting it to work right.

LD October Update

25 10 2012

Well at least it’s still October. Sorry I’ve been so quiet, between starting a new job and working on the Ludum Dare October stuff I’ve been a bit pressed for time. I figured I’d at least people know what I’ve been up to on that front though.

I admit my idea is pretty derivative, it’s basically similar to Missile Command only your launcher and the objects you’re protecting are in the middle of the screen, thus causing attacks to come at you from all sides.

I’m still tweaking a lot of stuff. For example the score UI is way too big (at least for this resolution) and the missile’s attack angles aren’t too good at the moment. In addition, I don’t even know if I’m going to keep this in space or not, or just make the object you’re protecting a seastead floating in the middle of the Atlantic or something. Still, at the very least I’m learning a lot more about NGUI and programming in general, so at the very least embarking on this project has helped me greatly.

“Video Games At the Movies” or “Asteroids was really the best they could think of?”

4 08 2009

So a while back it came to light that somebody, for whatever reason, thought that Asteroids would make a good movie. Now I could have sworn this already happened with Michael Bay’s explosion-and-anachronism sandwich known as Armageddon, but I guess someone thought that having one rock pales in comparison to having many rocks. Knowning Hollywoood they’ll probably get Shia LeBoeuf and his stammering to headline such a picture. But really. What in the world is the plot going to be? Many rocks threatening earth? Many rocks threatening a space station? Considering that the threadbare plot of the game was that your ship basically got trapped in an Asteroid field with UFOs by accident, it doesn’t exactly leave much to work with other than “Independence Day meets Armageddon”

That being said I can think of 5 other arcade games from the early 1980s that would make a better film than Asteroids, so here we go, in no particular order
A list, you guys.