2021 Games

Games are added as I write about them, not in order of playing (necessarily).

1. Power Pete (1995)

In our inaugural page that focuses on our new format (with a format a bit more based on this page's inspiration, Kentie.net), the first post here is for Power Pete (also known as Mighty Mike, though I'll be referring to it as Power Pete in this review), an old Pangea Software game.

Like with Glider PRO, Power Pete got open-sourced with modern features (like a joystick aim) and runs great, the only problem I have is there's no way to do full screen without doubling the resolution. Still, you can do widescreen and utilize most of your screen's real estate without stretching the UI.

You can see more about my personal memories of Power Pete is the May 30 2021 update of this site, but the plot resolves around action figure trying to rescue stuffed bunnies from other departments of a toy store. Here, let this better explain it:
Toy Mart has closed for the evening. The clerks have long since turned off the cash registers, and the midnight janitor has left. Suddenly the store comes alive as dolls, action figures, and game pieces jump to their feet.

Within moments cities are formed: in the Bargain Bin, race tracks become islands of action surrounded by a sea of on-looking toy robots. In the Clown Department thousands of insane clowns initiate a massive pie fight. Throughout all of the departments, life arises...

Suddenly there is a commotion in the Doll Department! One of the cages in the Stuffed Animal Zoo has broken open – hundreds of Fuzzy Bunnies hop out of the cage and scatter. The Fuzzy Bunnies, with their limited intellect, do not realize the danger they are in. The new metropolis of Toy Mart can be a very dangerous place for Fuzzy Bunnies to wander alone, and without help they stand little chance of surviving until morning.

The peaceful inhabitants of the Doll Department cry out for the Fuzzy Bunnies to return...but to no avail. What will they do? What will become of the Fuzzy Bunnies? "I WILL HELP YOU!" storms a deep, resonant voice from one of the shelves. A hush crawls over the crowd of Fuzzy onlookers. A large package tumbles from the shelf onto the floor and bursts open...and a figure emerges. Yes, it's Power Pete – the most powerful action figure money can buy! "Fear not, my fellow merchandise! I will rescue the Fuzzy Bunnies!" he exclaims.

Armed only with his single-shot suction-cup gun, Power Pete trots gallantly off into the aisles of the Toy Mart Metropolis. Luckily for Pete, the Metropolis is scattered with additional accessories. All Power Pete needs to do is to equip himself with better weapons and power-up accessories, and then he should have no problem rescuing the Fuzzy Bunnies, right? Wrong.

There are many toys which would love to see Power Pete "recalled" since his sales have increased and caused their sales to plummet. Power Pete will have a very difficult time finding all of the Fuzzy Bunnies since almost every toy in the store is out to get him...
Playing it for the first time since around 2010 (when I used an actual Mac OS 9-running iMac) was fantastic, and thanks to resources from Macintosh Garden (link) I was able to get the maps to the levels, which I appended with locations of keys and bunnies. It also includes with quality scans of the rare strategy guide, skip it—it only includes text descriptions of how to beat the levels, though it does mention in an interview that there were supposed to be 12 "worlds" instead of just five. Given that there are major gaps in the categories of toys to fight (girls' toys, space toys, military toys, etc.), I can only guess that these are what the cut departments had. There's also evidence that whatever scraps were actually drawn up for that were moved into the "Games Gallery" world, renamed "Bargain Bin" late in development, as that world (the fifth and last one) features sandboxes, UFOs that make you invincible, stuffed dogs, and baby toys scattered about.

The game's not hard if you have any real video game experience, and the only bug I found was a rare collision error that crashed the game in the third level of Candy Cane Lane. Unfortunately I didn't get specifics before the game quit out. There's a few frustrating trial-and-error sequences in the fourth world (Magic Fun House) and the hitboxes can be wonky sometimes. The dinosaurs in the first world (Prehistoric Plaza) come to mind, but typically bad hitboxes are usually paired with some unsatisfying enemy defeat, like in EVO: Quest for Eden. Here, the weapons sound nice, and any successful "kill" comes with a pop with confetti and loot coming out. Most enemies tend to go up and down in wave patterns as they move toward you, so the best strategy is to get them parallel with you against a wall to open fire.

Using the maps someone extracted, I managed to build maps, which you can see below. I'm not sure they are for printing (I wouldn't recommend it, despite my love for my printed guidebook material) but they are helpful. The one missing from the rip was "Clown-3", you'll see how I had to work around it. (Hint: it's not pretty). Also they don't include food, but the poison apples in World 3 (Fairy Tale Trail) are marked with a Mr. Yuk symbol. All other food (bubblegum and grapes in the first world, pizza and sandwiches in the second, apples and pies in the third, peanuts and cotton candy in the fourth, and hamburgers and hot dogs in the fifth) aren't marked on the maps. In the case of the second world (Candy Cane Lane), only the pizza and the sandwiches are edible, everything else is just background objects or trying to kill you. Another exception is birthday cakes (as well as a second variety of pie), those are weapons.

2. Bugdom (1999)

Power Pete wasn't the only Jorio port, Bugdom, an old favorite of mine from our family iMac back in 2000, was ported too, and unlike the "official" Windows port works well without needing extra software and has better textures more like the Mac version. I can wax nostalgic about the year 2000, and getting our pet cat around the same time, and all that, but as I found with Marble Blast Gold (except in that case, 2005), no game can really turn back the clock, no matter how "authentic" the experience is. Mostly, does Bugdom hold up?

Obviously, the 3D is a little lacking. In the year 2000 the graphics were great, a level well above what any game console on the market could manage (maybe except for the Dreamcast), and while I don't have any big problems with the camera as implemented in the original version of the game (until you start rolling at least), the distance texture is mapped out with a blurry grass photo, but it's only until you get practically right near it if you find out if it's clear space or an insurmountable wall of grass, and while the levels are somewhat linear, they tend to be a bit confusing, especially if you were trying to 100% it.

At times, Bugdom is a 3D adaptation of Power Pete but with different levels, theme, etc., with one difference being that in Power Pete you need to collect all the bunnies to beat the level, whereas Bugdom the ladybugs don't really NEED to be rescued, and if you weren't concerned with score, you can just dash for the exit. Of course, in Bugdom's case, you don't get extra points for killing baddies nor able to collect any power-ups from killing them. All health upgrades and ways to get points are hidden in walnuts spread across the level, creating a finite number of points to be earned.

While there are only 10 levels (including bosses) and the final boss is a complete pushover, the game isn't particularly easy to complete. The third level features fish that can take out an entire life, and the fourth level has stomping feet that take out a good quarter of your HP.

There was a sequel, but Bugdom 2 is...well, I just remember how atrocious the voice acting was and how stupid the main character looked. Maybe if it gets ported (or I find a copy of Bugdom 2 for Windows, whichever comes first) I'll take a look at it.

3. Friday Night Funkin' (2020)

I had heard of this game before, and from the screenshot on Wikipedia, I immediately thought, "Hey, this looks just like StepMania, which I haven't seen since like 2003" (StepMania, at least the Mac OS X version I remember, was kind of rough around the edges).

And FNF is also rough around the edges. No native fullscreen, a tutorial that isn't that intuitive (hint: don't follow the left side, only do the right). It doesn't exactly tell you where to stop, I was playing "Week One" (the first level, new levels are released every week) and I finished the first song with flying colors, only for it to immediately segue into the second. Either way, it's far from ready for prime time.

4. Eversion (2008)

Eversion was planned for a spot on the site and was written up almost five years ago, so here's the version that I planned to write with some very minor edits (particularly in removing the link to the developers' site, as a result it's harder to find the original Eversion freeware release, though I may add it as a download here in the future).

Here's the version from June 29, 2016 as it was planned to go up on Carbon-izer:

I played Eversion circa 2011 knowing to an extent the big twist toward the end (the trailer for eversion, the HD Steam re-release, spoils it somewhat). Unless you are a child or "those of a nervous disposition", Eversion isn't scary, at least not like a horror movie is (besides, if you are one of those two types, Eversion will warn you ahead of time). Even if you know what you're getting into, there are some genuine surprises that await you. If you want a platformer that's fairly easy to beat and provides a small but rewarding amount of challenge, stop reading now and check out the freeware version of Eversion at Zaratustra Productions. The rest of the review will continue in a spoilered text, so highlight it if you want to read. By the way, the weird audio in the trailer is available here, or at least that's the way I found it.

The first level of Eversion resembles a basic NES platformer with overly cheery music (taken from Cocoron, an old Famicom game, though later releases altered this). The sky is bright, there's flowers, you collect gems from smiling blocks, and even the Goomba-type enemies bounce around (how can you kill them like that?)

At some point, you can "evert" to another phase of the world (there's roughly a level for every "eversion" world, though some levels have multiple points). World 2 has the enemies move slightly slower, and the music less cheery. They're no longer happy and bouncing. It feels like a normal platformer at this point. Some clouds become solid at this point, creating puzzles to get all the gems (mostly it relies on timed jumping, on later levels). The flowers begin to wilt.

World 3 is no longer happy and starts to look dangerous. The enemies have changed once more, becoming even slower red lumps with eyes coming increasingly together. Blocks no longer smile. The flowers have totally wilted, and the water has taken on a sea-green color instead of the blue it once was (like most platformers, water will kill you).

And it just gets worse from there. The enemies will briefly stop moving at World 4, becoming single-eyed maroon lumps before becoming growing into black monsters with fangs and red eyes (they move terrifyingly fast and won't die permanently later on). A wall of darkness will chase you through the levels. Hands will pop up from the water (which ultimately will become lava) with a sudden "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEE!" sound. The flowers will become thorny vines (which will also kill you).

One of the more disturbing instances in the game is the opening to World 4. That one I actually won't spoil for you, because it was a somewhat genuine shock and kinda gross when I realized what was going on (a YouTube link for those that want to see it anyway).

As you get further in, the game will start messing with you. It will throw in an occasional "GAME OVER" instead of "READY!"

Of course, if you complete World 7 without all 240 gems, you will get a Game Over for real (with the bad ending), so be sure to get all of them on later runs. The "true ending" is the labyrinthine World 8, which there's a point (even in the revised freeware version) where you can get COMPLETELY screwed over and would have to start the level over. Since I've gotten 240 gems and know what the ending looks like, maybe I should invest in the Steam HD version if I want to have a chance at beating it...

For what it's worth, I did buy the Steam version and 100%'d it, though the Steam version isn't well-optimized in terms of "full screen without stretching" and other features I would've hoped they had. It's just mostly higher-resolution graphics.

5. Bachman (1992)

Bachman was one of the very first things I wrote for what would eventually turn into this site, and you can see my "page" which links to an even older blog. The Mac Garden page is here. I only ever played the black and white shareware version; the color version just looks weird in my opinion.

Fun fact: I wanted to write more about Bachman, as well as other games I played at my grandfather's house in Waco (like Milestones 2000) as part of what would be a page on Waco, Texas (which would be built, but be a bit different than what I originally had planned).