There's something about the allure of the pixel that we just can't ignore. Maybe it's because we grew up in the 8-bit era, but pixelated graphics have always held a certain nostalgic charm for us. In fact, we think that just about everything is a little bit better when rendered in blocky glory. This week, we present a fresh batch of games that fills anyone's hunger for modern gameplay and old school graphics, from Nintendo mash-ups to a sprightly rendition of one of our favorite Kevin Bacon flicks.
'Super Mario Crossover'
'Super Mario Crossover
' features one heck of a "why didn't I think of that?" idea. The formula is ingenious: Take the original 'Super Mario Bros.' and allow players to control a host of classic 8-bit Nintendo icons in the place of Mario himself. 'Super Mario Crossover' lets you blast Goombas as Mega Man, or boomerang Koopa Troopas as Link. Even more ingenious is the accurate representations of each character's control scheme. You won't realize how sublimely well designed 'Super Mario Bros.' is until you find yourself unable to control the direction of your jumps when playing as Simon Belmont of 'Castlevania.' The icing on the cake? You get to listen to the theme music from each character's game as you play.
' is such an expertly crafted game that we wouldn't be surprised to see it hitting consoles in the near future. The mechanics revolve around switching between two different planes of time in order to solve puzzles. For instance, players must shift time as they jump between precarious platforms that exist on one plane but not another. Easy comparisons can be made with 'Braid,' but 'Time Fcuk' delivers more absurdity and eeriness, especially with the inane comments and taunts made by game's visible narrator. The difficulty curve slowly ramps up as more and more variables come into play, but the game's beautifully simple graphics and music add up to a compelling atmosphere that make players want to keep at it.
'Convey Or: The Countdown'
The simplistic, practically monochrome exterior of 'Convey
' belies a deceptively complex game, right down to the dual meaning of its title. You play a robot who can control the direction of conveyor belts, and express himself through speech (get the pun?) -- both controlled entirely through the use and disuse of the space bar. This streamlined control scheme proves to be part of the game's challenge and charm, as you'll not only weave your way through conveyor puzzles, but verbal ones, as well.
If they had made an NES game based on 'Tremors
', the 1990 Kevin Bacon movie about gigantic sandworms, it most likely would have been an abomination. (Play the Total Recall or Terminator NES games if you have any doubts about that claim.) Thankfully we have 'Tremerz
', a simple Flash game that has somehow managed to make the monster flick downright adorable. The game is short and sweet, distilling the movie's plot into about five sublime minutes of game play, as you control a hopping and scooting Kevin Bacon as he collects survivors and avoids deadly sandworms in the desert.
' is unique among the other games featured here in that its content is entirely user-created. Perhaps because of this, it's less like a game and more like finding yourself in someone else's twisted, feverish dream. Players navigate through user-drawn screens, clicking on text prompts to choose how to further their adventure. One session can find you entering the gates of hell and programming games for Activision, while another might require you to pick up the virtual pen and create the story's continuation. Like the best dreams, it can be disorienting, confusing and ultimately really fun.