Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winnitron 1000: Impressions from Gaming Co-op #5

Alright folks, it's time for the overdue, final posting about the Cooperative Gaming Co-op Arcade Installation that I attended in October in San Jose.  Hosted by my friend John Bruneau and James Morgan, the Arcade was a free event, and a chance to play a bunch of different independently released games in Arcade cabinets built and curated by the hosts and a variety of guest curators.  I had a great time at this event, and if I were a bit closer to San Jose, I would have returned over and again to try the games I didn't have time for.  While many of the games are available to play, download and purchase online, the chance to play them in an Arcade cabinet was truly special, and not something I'll likely have a chance to repeat.   With the exception of the Winnitron 1000.

The Winnitron 1000 was designed specifically to be a sort of Franchise Arcade Cabinet.  The idea for the Winnitron, and the games are available through their website.  Winnitron 1000 was designed in Winnipeg, Canada, where-from it gets the name, and it has been duplicated at several different locations.  The one I played was designed for the Cooperative Gaming Co-op and is called the Winnitron SJ.  

There can be a Winnitron in your town,   all it takes is people with the gumption to contact the Winnitron people, then build a cabinet and put the Winnitron software in it.  And presto!  You can have your town's own Winnitron, which will live there to be enjoyed by all.  

Look at all these games available for the Winnitron!  I only got the chance to play four of them with the time I had.  I'd love a chance to play some of these again, and many for the first time.  

  • Nidhogg by MESSHOF/Mark Essen

Nidhogg is simultaneously an ideal indie game and an ideal arcade game.  Just overall a fantastic game.  It's awesome and indie because of its relatively low production value but high overall effect.  And it's awesome as an arcade game because it is two player, and it is just instantly tons of fun.

Within seconds, like, under 60 seconds, my opponent and I were laughing with glee.  This game was that much fun.  I feel very privleged to have gotten to play it on an arcade machine.  That's the way it should be played.  It plays like the long lost cousin of a game like Joust.  A game that should have been a classic for 30 years, but instead wasn't invented until 2009. It plays like a game from that era has been allowed to age in a barrel and is now a fine vintage. 

I really want to play it again;  I feel about this game the way I do about Crossed Swords.   Highly recommend.  

  • Shoot Bastard by Matt Thorston, Chevy Ray Johnson, Beau Blyth

Shoot Bastard is ridiculous and silly.  And fun.  It plays like the original game idea went horribly wrong - or did it go horribly right?  You have to play to be able to tell.  It's a vs battle game with missile launchers and great hand-drawn graphics.  Good for a lark.

  • Super Crate Box Versus by Vlambeer

Have you played Super Crate Box?  Well, Versus is an adaptation of that game that crams a second player into the mix, and creates a competition to see who can get the most boxes.  It never lasts long though, because the crazy mad-capped action is even crazier and more mad-capped.  Fun, but frustratingly hard.  Play the original.  It's harder than that.   

  • Verge By Kyle Pulmer

Verge is a cool puzzle-platformer.  The graphics are nice, cartoony and soft.  The puzzles involve traveling back and forth between an underworld in order to move forward. Visually, it reminds me of Cave Story+.  Game play-wise it reminds me of several games:  Braid, Cave Story, Limbo, Eversion.  I recommend checking any and all of them out when you get a chance.  Two of which were featured in a previous post.

Winnitron 1000 may very well be the way of the future, or so I'd like to think.  The arcade is a great forum for gaming, and perhaps also for independent gaming.  Now that PC gaming competes heavily with console gaming, and with applications like Steam, it isn't necessary to have a physical product.  Perhaps arcade cabinets can re-enter vogue, like vinyl records.  

The Winnitron is something you can have in your town, and I advocate for them getting one.


Previous Gaming Co-op postings:

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