Where’s the Beef?
I’ve noticed something lately in entertainment and that’s 80’s nostalgia seems to be gaining stride in a big way. Everywhere I look there’s something new that capitalizes on the iconic retrowave aesthetic that permeated those years or on capturing those feelings of science fiction mystery and adventure à la The Goonies, Stand by Me or the Back to the Future trilogy. Recently Hollywood’s produced successful films such as the remake of It, Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. On the small screen who could forget the breakout Netflix hit Stranger Things and lesser known Dark (which I’ll talk about soon on this site). Whether it’s because these films are all very good or because people simply want to return to a time that isn’t…well…now remains to be seen but for the moment, everything’s righteous again.
What’s funny about the 80s is that if those years were compiled into a feature film, then over the course of nearly 30 years that film has developed a worldwide cult following despite initially receiving malign criticism (mostly for a poor soundtrack). Speaking for the gaming industry in particular it was a very important decade as it was in 1985 that the Nintendo Entertainment System launched in North America and single handedly revived the market after the video game crash of ‘83.
Indie developers have recognized the growing wave of nostalgia spreading across all of entertainment and today I’ve put together a list of titles currently in development that will appeal to those who wish to ride it. If you’re into retro or synthwave, neo-noir, teen comedies, science fiction or cyber punk then there’s likely something here for you.
Release Date: TBA
This one’s only been in development for about a month and is helmed by a single individual, but in that time they’ve produced some extremely amazing work built in Unreal Engine 4.
The story is understandably barebones right now. The setup involves the creation and usage of nanotechnology to supress criminal intent with nano chips having been implanted in people worldwide. You play as a detective who witnesses a murder for which you are then framed. Now a government fugitive, you must find the real killer and clear your name.
As it is right now the story doesn’t really delve into territory we haven’t explored before, but if it’s told within an interesting and properly fleshed out cyberpunk world then gamers could be encouraged to go along for the ride.
Based on these WIP clips, that world is off to a good start.
Black Future ‘88
Release Date: 2018
Black Future ‘88 is a synthpunk roguelike platformer that sees you and a friend climbing a tower in order to kill the owner on the top floor before your heart explodes.
The developer touts procedural level generation, co-op and the player’s ability to influence the world, thus making the towers more difficult for other people. You can watch the game’s trailer below but I’d recommend not doing so more than once. The thing is insane with the jumpcuts and flashes. Jesus.
Neon Valley: Revenge
Developer: Daydream Productions
Release Date: TBA
Neon Valley: Revenge is an online shooter with Neo 80s design influence. Full of retro neon-infused graphics and hardcore gameplay features, join the digital frontier of Neon Valley and claim your place at the top!
Governments have won the Cyberwar. Monitoring and restricting users. The dark web is dead. Oppression runs rampant as governments assert dominance and control over free speech. There is no propaganda. There is no sugar-coating this. There is no need when they have won. We work to fuel the system, to keep their corporate structure alive… In return, we are not replaced by machines.
This is the setup for Daydream Productions’ Neon Valley: Revenge and I must admit, I was not prepared for the impressive amount of time and effort that has gone into the game’s story and how it’s interwoven into game play.
Discussion of this one requires its own article so I’ll simply leave you with some game play footage as well a link to an extensive blog post describing the game’s combat systems.
This is a game to look out for and I’ll definitely be revisiting it for you guys later.