Sunday, April 15, 2007

Donkey Kong in Post-Its

I never liked Donkey Kong that much as a kid. It was too easy to die, the barrels were too unpredictable, and it was annoying how you had to line Mario up exactly with the ladder before he’d start climbing it. I also remember being vaguely disconcerted that the title character was a) not a donkey in any way and b) evil. I much preferred Burgertime, where it was much easier to stay alive and which didn’t have a brain-bending name. Nonetheless, this is like the coolest thing ever and I love it:

The UCSC Engineering building is currently hosting this... er, work of art constructed from some 6,400 Post-Its. Check out the site; there’s quite a bit of neat info about the project. I do find it disturbing that most of the students at this school were probably born long, long after the game was popular, and that this was essentially an act of reverence for an ancient and dimly-known idol. I guess some of the older ones might remember it from the annoying yet sort of Keanu-“whoa”-style mind-blowing part of Donkey Kong 64 where you had to actually play the original game on an arcade machine within the game.

Speaking of which, I think the whole idea of virtual machines and emulation of one computer or video game system within another is really cool. I use a program called Mini vMac to simulate the Mac Plus computer we had when I was a kid, and just the fact that the old computer is essentially a tiny program running on the new computer is still really fascinating to me. Note that while emulators like this are often used to play copied games, most of the things I play are games I already own, or which are so old there’s no way anyone is still trying to make money off them, or both, as in the case of Zork here, which I’ve bought several times over the years and which was made shareware by the publisher during a promotion for a new game a while back. In fact, you can even play this and a lot of other similar games online in a Java applet, which is pretty dope.

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