Cheating at Wii Sports Bowling Power Throws (the Training Mode game): On the last throw when there’s 91 pins, roll the ball down one of the rails off to the side. If the ball stays on the rail all the way down, a loud explosion will cause all the pins to fall, earning you a Strike. Don’t believe me? Watch this shit. #WiiSports #Bowling #EasterEggs
Some dude on the ScummVM forums discovered that, back in 1993, French developer (and member of “the Sierra family,” which in retrospect sounds more and more like a mob tie, but eh) Coktel Vision played the “corporate money tie-in” game. Actually, they developed one.
No one knows how long this thing has remained buried in the deep, dank vaults of the once-proud madness factory that was Coktel Vision — creators of such fantastically oddball adventures as Gobliiins, Lost in Time, Ween, Inca and my personal favorite Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth. But it has now been unconvered, and the world trembles.
Actually, with the company’s history in mind, it’s suddenly not so odd that Coktel Vision would spring at the opportunity to develop a short, ostensibly freely distributed (?) adventure game about an anthropomorphic fish finger. I’m not sure what the two kids’ deal is, but the game runs on Coktel’s Gobliins 2 engine (yes, only two “i’s” in that title), so I’m presuming they walk around performing the sort of tasks that would get normal people locked up in the service of puzzles contrived by the sort of French people who definitely should have been locked up.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing a Coktel Vision game before, suffice it to say that “wild imagination” doesn’t even begin to cover it. These guys were, for all intents and purposes, insane. They were also incredibly talented and riding the crest of technological advancements: Sierra reportedly bought the French developers purely because they had created an awesome FMV engine. And then they got stuck with games wherein the protagonist was a golden heir to the Inca empire who spent his days flying around the trench of the Death Star in his magic spaceship and being bossed around by some old guy whose head inexplicably turns into a pan flute.
This is not that game. Although it sounds just as weird.
Check out the ScummVM forum thread where you can see more screenshots of the game.
Well, it’s time to call off the search. Dave Cummins, the designer, writer and composer of the classic adventure game Beneath A Steel Sky, is no longer missing. It turns out he passed away in 2008.
His old boss Paul Cooper, who gave him his first gig in the games industry as his assistant, had been in contact with Dave’s younger brother and wrote me to let me in on the sad news. I’m not sure how he died, but he was living in Hull and unfortunately had been cursed with deteriorating health.
You may have noticed from the credits in Steel Sky that Dave also wrote all the music for the game - and I distinctly remember him telling me, all those years ago, that he was really unhappy with the way his score had been MIDI-fied for the PC DOS version. Some of you may not know this (I didn’t), but Dave also played guitar in a rock band in the late 70’s called The Red Shift. Paul has uploaded a few of the recordings they made back then here: https://soundcloud.com/theoriginalredshift
It’s been really special getting to know some of Dave’s old friends and colleagues, as well as other Steel Sky fans who were similarly anxious to find out whatever happened to Dave. My big, big thanks to Jai Redman, who worked at Software Studios with Dave; Richard Gallagher, whom Dave named a character after in Steel Sky;and Andre Rosso and Charles Cecil. And also to the lads at RPGcodex who helped in the search.
Those who knew Dave describe him as fiercely anti-authority but with a kind heart, hand perpetually curled as if he was always playing air guitar. He left Revolution Software on acrimonious terms, but Charles Cecil professed an interest to mend their relationship and offer him a chance to be a part of Steel Sky 2.
As I have often said, Dave was a troubled genius - he may have been pretty damning of me, and we didn’t always see eye to eye, but I totally respect - and now miss - his intelligence and talent.
R.I.P. Dave Cummins. Wish I could’ve picked the dude’s brain some more. Now I’ll never get the chance.
Yesterday was one of those days when technology just flat out refused to work with me. My Chrome browser at work still refuses to start, I’ve seemingly irrevocably lost access to our main printer, and my boss’ computer threw a psychedelic fit and started substituting the color black with squiggly acid green. I drew this picture while waiting for some rat bastard Radeon driver to finish installing its gargantuan control panel software. #sketch #technologyfail #machineshateus