Posts with ‘JeffMinter’ Tag

Gridrunner Revolution

By: Derek Yu

On: September 30th, 2009

Gridrunner Revolution

Llamasoft has just released Gridrunner Revolution, an update to Gridrunner (1982) and Gridrunner++ (2002). The game has all the hallmarks of a modern Jeff Minter production: psychedelic graphics and gobs of hidden rules and scoring mechanics. And sheep.

Each level has a terrible sun in it that periodically fires on your ship, but can be destroyed for an extra man and leaves behind a black hole that creates a gravity well for your bullets. Curving your bullets through gravity is an important mechanic, allowing you to raise your multiplier and hit enemies from different angles (you can rotate your ship with the right mouse button). The extra ships system is novel – each ship looks unique and has a slightly different way of firing. When you find the right ship and the right angle it looks impressive and nets you an even more impressive multiplier.

I also really like the “Sheepie Save” mechanic. Collecting sheep increases your ships’ power but can also be used to save a dying ship. Once hit, your ship falls toward the bottom of the screen, but if you guide it to a sheep, it will be saved. Keeping your ship bouncing until a sheep arrives is actually one of my favorite things to do in the game. I won’t spoil how it works, exactly, but it’s a nifty idea.

Gridrunner Revolution is definitely a lot easier to get into than Minter’s Space Giraffe, although I feel like the game doesn’t really start cooking until well into the Madras (Medium) difficulty or in Vindaloo (Hard). From my experience, that’s the point where the mechanics start to make sense, because you’ll really be relying on your understanding of them to survive. For that reason I’d personally prefer fewer levels with a faster difficulty ramp. It might also make each level feel a bit more unique (as it is, you’re playing level after level of psychedelic void – pretty, but they tend to blur into one another).

You can have the full game for $20, or with Space Giraffe at $25. The full game comes with the original Gridrunner as a bonus feature that you can unlock.

TIGdb: Entry for Gridrunner Revolution

Minor dramatics and other Yak-oriented activities

By: Xander

On: November 24th, 2007

<img src=“” width=“289” height=“247” alt=“Jeff and his Sheep. One of them. Probably the happiest one” hspace=“5” vspace=“5” align= “right”/>

A little more drama unfolded over this week, with Jeff Minter’s disheartened rant on the lack of sales for Space Giraffe followed up by the announcement that he will no longer be keeping up his development blog, which will henceforth be solely an area for discussions of Sheep, Plushies and other workless topics.

Earlier in the week, Jeff posted up on his blog his feelings on the subject of Space Giraffe selling only 1/10th of the amount that the re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rerelease of Frogger achieved on the Xbox Live Arcade. To quote The Yak on the subject, his reaction to the news was this;

OK, we get the message. All you want on that channel is remakes of old, shite arcade games and crap you vaguely remember playing on your Amiga.

I know a few TIGers would argue against the 1989 TMNT Arcade game being considered shite (especially if you happen to own a vintage cabinet), but it does pose some worries about the future of XBLA as a platform for indie developers. However, Space Giraffe wasn’t just controversial within the console crowd, as there were greatly divided opinions across the indie community as well as the mainstream press.

So perhaps the usefulness to the indie community remains to be seen, but at least in this case it’s left Jeff Minter with some serious doubts, even as Grid Runner ++ continues development (now silently) on the 360. Here’s hoping for at least some better luck in the future, as successes regardless, I’d just hate to see the indie spirit crushed by a 26 year old highway crossing frog.

Update: This week’s XBLA releases are Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe. “The ironing is delicious…”

( Source: Eurogamer, because they still have the greatest review ever of Earth Defence Force 2017 )


By: Derek Yu

On: October 5th, 2007


Redrunner is the sequel to Greenrunner, a C64 homebrew by Aleksi Eeben. Both games are based on Jeff Minter’s Gridrunner series of games (which are apparently getting an Xbox 360 update). And Blade Runner is a great dystopian science fiction movie starring Harrison Ford. Got that?

Redrunner has roots in the classic arcade game Centipede, so it shares many of the same elements, although Redrunner’s gameplay is much more free form. In this game the entire playfield is open to you, and your opponents, the “bugs,” are similarly free to roam the entire screen.

What’s neat about the game is that each of the game’s 100 (!) levels has a unique theme. One level, for example, may go in slow motion, whereas in another level an ever-expanding slime may steadily consume the screen.

Unfortunately, I found it difficult to appreciate the concept, mostly due to the fact that, because of the jittery pace of the game and your ship’s ability to fire in the four cardinal directions at once, the easiest way to beat many of the levels is by sitting still and holding down the fire button. Gameplay videos by the author himself seem to verify that this is a reasonable tactic.

I do dig the overall aesthetic, especially the voice of the announcer, who sounds like Sinistar crossed with the guy who goes “Test your might!” in the Mortal Kombat song. This game’s not for me, though.

Redrunner requires a C64 or a C64 emulator like Vice to run.

(Source: dessgeega blog)

Space Giraffe! (and the new if somewhat late editor…)

By: Xander

On: August 28th, 2007


Space Giraffe is the new XBLA title from Jeff Minter’s Llamasoft. Jeff Minter for those who might not know is the legendary (infamous?) mind behind the instantly recognisable and always awesome ‘Tempest 2000’. I always preferred ‘Llamatron’ more myself, but mostly because I was pretty young at the time and I couldn’t think of any better reason to blow the crap out of anything than to save beasties. Recently (read: 6 days ago) Space Giraffe hit XBLA at the very modest price of 400 MS Points, which I think is around $5/ï¿¡3.40 (for those who dislike mentally detaching themselves from the reality of what they’re actually spending). Critically, it’s been met with a pretty mixed response, with an 8/10 from the highly regarded ‘Edge’ Magazine and a 2/10 from the US OXM.

Review scores that far apart don’t only happen in Game Tunnel Monthly Round-ups, aparently. Luckily here at TIGSource we don’t rely on ratings systems or averages, mostly because it’s been a while since we studied maths, we’re a little rusty and we sold our textbooks with the answers filled in long ago to save up for impending lawsuits. So, I wont bore the crap out of you with that kind of thing (ignoring the fact that I did just that 15 seconds ago), and instead I’ll just tell you what it’s like and whether it’s something you should try to check out yourself.

And yes, yes it is…

The gameplay is really very different to Tempest, where whilst the essence is similar, the execution is refined. The main innovation is the Power Zone, which is basically an area of the playing field which constantly decreases unless you increase its size by attacking the enemies. By extending the Power Zone you increase your own powers – for instance, enemy bullets travel slower, you have additional firepower which can be directed unlike the main cannon and you earn the previously mentioned ability to ram into the enemies into the abyss for bonus points and multipliers, or just to get revenge on the sneaky ‘><’ shapes that have dragged you away time and time again taking your highscore with it.

Space Giraffe is… sort of like Tempest. Saying that has probably doomed me to be eaten by Jeff’s trained attack sheep (Fluffy: will devour writers for daily petting, grass… and great justice!) but it’s easy to mix the two up. The basis of the game is Tempest after all: your movement is restricted to the line of a strange shape as you blast away oncoming enemies. You can jump to avoid enemy attacks. You have a Super Zapper you can use once a level as a screen clearing attack. But it’s not that it doesn’t share similarities with Tempest, it’s that Space Giraffe is Space Giraffe. Your Super Zapper doesn’t scream ‘Eat Electric Death!’ You can only jump a finite amount of times using pick-ups called ‘Jump Pods’, and while you can shoot the enemies coming towards them, the only way I know of to increase your multiplier exponentially is to ram the enemies off the face of the level. Seriously. The first level is a GIANT outline of J Allard’s face (google for many a meme). Where Tempest left you in the dark recesses of space, Space Giraffe shoves you battling into a Windows Media Player Visualizer inhabited by the specters of Microsoft Executives. In a good way…

Speaking of which, compared to the relatively simple scoring system of Geometry Wars and T2K, Space Giraffe really does leave you to try and work a whole lot out for yourself. There are many different techniques beyond rushing the enemy to boost your score, and the best ways to find them are through experimentation. It encourages this kind of play with the very forgiving inclusion of being able to restart the highest level you reached, as well as being able to earn back the score you did have by successfully finishing the level. It’s by no means a way to cheat the leaderboards, because once you’ve reached the final level you can’t improve on the score anymore without playing through previous levels and improving on your last attempts, and I think that’s a relatively bold and rewarding choice. It still lets gamers go after the highest scores they can get, but it eliminates some of the grind of having to go through earlier levels you’ve mastered twenty times over, you can simply skip the easier ones that you’re proud of and pour your time into boosting scores on higher levels.

Well sorry for how long this turned out to be, feel free to kick my ass about that in the comments below! Feedback would be very handy, seeing as this is my first post and all. Later posts will be much smaller for the most part, but if anyone has any thoughts on this kind of post for XBLA style (parting with your hard-ended money/ill-gotten booty) releases, please do post away. Anyways, in the end what my argument all boils down to today is this: this is not Tempest, it’s Space Giraffe. And it’s all the better for it!

Beast Invaders 2

By: Tim

On: November 3rd, 2006


Beast Invaders is a hack of Space Invaders. This hack was created by Jeff “Yak” Minter, who’s been creating games for various platforms since the early 80s and is probably best known in the Atari community for his work on the Atari Jaguar. Currently obsessed with giraffes.

What’s different:

Enemy sprites have been changed into cute, furry animals.

Beast Invaders 2:

Not Jet Set Willy Online. (DAMN!)