Technology and Its Discontents
Video games too awesome to be real
Except for one
Easy access to paint programs has unleashed a torrent of what-if 8-bit imaginary retro video game awesomeness where time-slipped console development meets films from the past, present and future. Personally, I’d like to see a Super Nintendo THX-1138—which would certainly be less ridiculous than the SNES Home Alone cartridge—but I guess I’ll have to do that one up myself. What I did find out was that there were these clever mock-ups, one of which is actually real. Which one?
Sometimes, people take the liberty of exciting every old-school gamer by muralizing their garage entrance. I am completely and totally in support of this and, needless to say, driving by this Pac-Man mural every day keeps me pretty entertained. Keep an eye out for street art. Finding little gems like this make driving to work seem far less mundane, and may even keep that third-cup-of-coffee craving at bay. ... for a while longer.
Editor's note: Enjoy the Nuevo Mexicano chiptune banjo-pop of Bud Melvin below.
Webgame Wednesday: Ice Beak
It's getting a touch chilly outside, don't you think? Winter is definitely in the air. So why not stay inside and play some wintery games? I suggest trying your hand at Ice Beak. This pleasingly 8-bit scroll-and-shoot puts you in the role of an ice-blasting bird navigating a lava-filled maze. There's a bit of puzzle solving to be had as well, since you must use your ice abilities to their best advantage to navigate the trap-filled maze in which you find yourself. Just remember to keep your cool.
Movies at Fab Lab Tonight: 8 BIT and Taian Lu @ 8:30 p.m.
We wrote about Fab Lab ABQ here (and here) in April. Tonight they’re hosting Modern World Movie Night. Why? “By exposing viewers to somewhat obscure films that are not easily found except in the Fine Art world, we can open up a larger discussion about how technology and its advances affect us as artists and makers here in Albuquerque and how we are connected to the world at large.” Films include Martin Ramocki’s celebrated 8 BIT and Mathieu Borysevicz’s Taian Lu.
In Patrick Jean's Pixels, New York gets the 8-bit jihad treatment, apparently over the junking of the last (? I like to think so) CRT television in the city. Space Invaders, Frogger, and Tetris all make an appearance. Especially nice is seeing Donkey Kong up where he always belonged, atop the Empire State Building chucking barrels at pedestrians.
Music to Your Ears
Bud Melvin's Popular Music
What do you get when you mix banjo, 8-bit Nintendo and karaoke? (Aside from a Missourian out on the town in Japan.) You get programmer/picker Bud Melvin’s LP release for Popular Music.
Bud Melvin creates a solo novelty using the banjo and chiptunes—music produced by older video game and computer systems that generate sound in real time. It’s both retro digital and pastoral, an unlikely combination that interacts with the dynamism of yin and yang. On Sunday, a live collision of Luigi and Jed awaits release party revelers at Ed's Pub, Leisure Bowl's wood-paneled, karaoke-fraught watering hole. The show is free and followed by a night of open karaoke. In the meantime, the Alibi shipped off a few electronic questions to Melvin about the record.
Why release digital chiptunes on an analog record?