Space Giraffe Coming To PC
Remember Space Giraffe, the Xbox Live Arcade oddity that led to a very public temper tantrum by designer Jeff Minter? It's coming to the PC next week!
"It is a joyous time of year full of sexy reindeer, inebriated bearded fellows with rosy cheeks and distended sacks, and wanton consumerism gone wild," Minter said. "What better time to cheer up the entire world with the release of a new videogame. We at Llamasoft are dedicated to our ongoing mission to make the world a better place for everybody."
Space Giraffe is a "psychedelic shooter" featuring 100 levels and backgrounds that can synchronize with your own selection of music, with basic gameplay mechanics rooted in the classic 80s arcade machine Tempest. WorthPlaying says the PC version of the game is "considerably nicer" than the original Xbox 360 release in many ways and adds "several key new features" to the game. The levels have also been reworked to tone down the visual distortion, designed to make the game more accessible to people who don't get a kick out of the "balls-out full-on psychedelia of its predecessor."
I've never played Space Giraffe, but I have to think that "reworking" the game is a good idea. I watched a short gameplay video on the Llamasoft website and I thought I was having a stroke. Game reviews have been all over the map, with many praising its gameplay innovations while criticizing the various background effects that can overwhelm the game. Space Giraffe is probably best-known to most gamers because of the public tantrum Minter threw over the fact that its sales were dwarfed by the Xbox Live Arcade re-release of Frogger, which crushed his game at a rate of ten to one.
Calling Frogger "one of the worst games in the history of old arcade games," Minter complained, "All you want on that channel is remakes of old, shite arcade games and crap you vaguely remember playing on your Amiga. We'll shut up trying to do anything new then. Sorry for even trying." Ultimately, however, Minter decided to stick with it, claiming he was too deeply invested into Xbox Live Arcade to just walk away.
Will the PC release of Space Giraffe be Minter's redemption? It'll cost you $20 to find out when the game is released next week, unless a PC demo comes down along with it. While you wait, feel free to grab the original Space Giraffe soundtrack, which Minter is giving away to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the game's launch, right here.
I will buy this if only to support Jeff Minter's antics.
I described my experience with the Space Giraffe demo on XBLA as a session of Tempest with a strobe-light pointed in my face. There may be a decent game under there, but I literally can't see it.
If the PC version has fixed the tendancy for the psychedelia to obscure the gameplay, that's a big step in the right direction and maybe the game will be worth it... but as it was, Frogger actually provided a better user experience and had the nostalgia factor so it trouncing Space Giraffe didn't surprise me in the least.
This game hurts me to watch. Not quite as bad as the beta video I saw of Tempest (originally the entire screen rotated while the player stayed stationary), but still. I still remember Playing a free Geometry Wars clone that was trippy enough, and I spent the next half hour seeing weird colors that don't exist in real life.
I bought Frogger. Frogger is fun.
I tried Space Giraffe. I didn't buy Space Giraffe. Space Giraffe was not fun.
Braid, Castle Crashers, Bionic Commando, Mega Man 9 ... those are all fun, original (to some degree or other) games on XBLA that have been quite successful. I think time has overruled his arguments.
I'll give the PC demo a shot though, to see if it's any more entertaining.
I'd also like to add that RezHD did a much better job of doing what Space Giraffe seems to have been trying to do, at least from my point of view. So Minter can take his complaints, stuff them somewhere they'll build up pressure, and use that pressure to get back to building great games instead of cheap pyrotechnics.
I agree with Nym. I loved RezHD and other rez-fans told me that I would like SG once I got used to it. Well, I couldn't stand to play the thing for more than 10 minutes so I never got used to it. Oh, and several SG players told me that although it works a little like Tempest, don't try to play it like tempest or you won't do well.
Having finally had the chance to try the PC demo, I'm going to throw my lot in with Virgil, Anton, etc. I love and want to support innovative indie game development, but this is crap.
...Sorry, I was watching the demo footage and threw up all over my PC. I'm going to shotgun 8 imodium and go to bed now.