Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Boy and His Blob Wiimake

Yay! A Boy and his Blob was one of the most intriguing games for the NES. It was a profoundly confusing yet extremely rewarding side scrolling adventure/exploration game. Put simply, you are a boy and you have a blob. Your blob likes to eat jelly beans. Every different flavor of jelly bean turns your blob into useful items such as ladders, bridges, holes, and rockets. These items help you navigate city streets, underground passageways, and planets populated by evil creatures made of puffed sugar.

The most confusing part about the original game was that it had no immediately apparent story. You were simply plopped down in front of your suburban house with nothing but a backpack full of jellybeans and your trusty blob. You've got no motive for feeding your blob jelly beans. No guidance that tells you not to turn your blob into a trampoline and bounce yourself into outer space (aside from common sense, that is). Eventually you find that your goal is searching out the right flavor of jelly bean that turns your blob into a rocket so you can blast off to Sugarville and defeat the evil blob king. You only find out that this is the end of the game when the credits start to roll. Who knew?

From the look of the game art and the buzz around this game, it sounds like the developers are not simply going to port this surreal game; they're doing a bit of reimagining. In addition to making it look beautiful, lets hope the game has a bit of story injected into it. In any case, head on over to Kotaku and take a look at the breaking news then browse the gallery of beautiful looking screen shots! And if you're interested in seeing the first few pages of the Nintendo Power article that spurred this frenzy of excitement, you can find a .jpg of it here. Glad to see that Wiiware is getting something else worth waiting for!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blue Lacuna

Hi Everyone,

I'd just like to direct your attention to a new obsession of mine. I'm reading (playing?) this fabulous interactive fiction called Blue Lacuna. Head on over to the games section of the site for a little bit about it and then go and download it. Then read away. Make some good choices. Then make some mistakes. Then tell me this isn't one of he coolest pieces of fiction out there, interactive or otherwise.

Anyway, I just wanted to make sure that no one misses this one. :)


Friday, January 23, 2009

Mach Dice!

I love the iPhone and iPod Touch. The possibilities for wonderfully creative games are endless on the platform. Check out this cool dice application that makes amazing use of the iPhone's accelerometer. It not only tracks your hand movement to realistically roll the dice, but also senses the tilt to give a sort of holographic 3D effect to the on-screen dice! Yay for creativity!

Friday, January 9, 2009

MarvDiv's First Official Mystery Project!

So, have some vagueness everyone!

I can't say too much about this as it's still in the early stages of development, but we're forming a team. A collective. A group of like-minded and talented individuals who want to make something awesome. Our team may take on the name of Marvelous Diversion. We may not.

Who we are is yet to be determined. What we're making is largely up to the creative efforts of the aforementioned "we". As of now, we are two with a hope to become four. The two of us have had an idea floating around for nearly fifteen years that is closer than ever to becoming a reality.

More will be said when more develops, but until then, prepare for some mystery! And pondering! And wondering! And... and... OK. I'm not giving anyone much to go on here. Just know that a project is in the works.

And that project will rock.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Mirthday, Aquaria!

Aquaria Trailer HD from BitBlot on Vimeo.

The game that started this blog off is one year old! I've been enchanted by Aquaria since I first heard about the project getting nominated for a bunch of awards at IGF 2007. Derek and Alex went on to win the grand prize at the festival, and the rest is history.

This weekend, Bit-Blot Studios is releasing a fabulous new patch for the Windows version of the game that contains many new features. In celebration of the game's anniversary and new release, the Bit-Blot team has put together a new trailer video, this time in hi-def! If you've not already tried this game, take a walk on over to and download the demo. Then buy the full game. Because it's awesome. And cool. And cool and awesome. You like awesome and cool things, don't you?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

In the year 20XX...

Corny. Yes, some may even call it dorky. I call it exciting! A no-budget studio put this together. I think it's pretty spiffy for a fan made video. Before you hit play, can you guess what movie this is just by the title of this post?

Haha! Good times, neh?

Monday, July 21, 2008


Fantastic! Fabulous! Fortuitous! Erm... I mean Final Fantasy Four! Whee! It's coming out for the DS and this release looks flipping awesome. Check out the video above for a taste of the best Final Fantasy game of all time. I might have to break down and finally buy a DS now.

Welcome back!

Welcome back, Tony!

Yeah, I've been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog recently. My wife and I have been in the process of buying our first house and it's left little time for MarvDiv here. Over the past few months, I've still found the time to play some fantastic games, so I have a lot of things to post about. We'll be moved into the new place this coming weekend, so expect more updates once we're settled in.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Art of Play

The aim of this Symposium and Arcade is to survey the games that brought us to this moment with their unique creative vision, and to frame the field moving forward, as game makers finally abandon the question "CAN games be art," and begin to ask ourselves in how many ways they WILL be.

For those of you who know me, it may come as a surprise that I don't relish the idea of tromping halfway across the country on a whim. I would, however, have hopped on a plane to Pennsylvania in a heartbeat had I known about this event sooner.

The Art of Play was a conference on video games unlike any other. Hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, it was a symposium that took place at the end of March and the beginning of April. It sounds like they had some amazing lecturers (An oxymoron? Nay, I say!) and a fantastic forum of game designers and theorists. Oh, to have heard the musings of Heather Kelly of the Kokoromi collective!

So, I'm a big dork. I think we've established that pretty well at this point. I think it's just that I've been kind of starved on the creative front since most of my day is spent walking people through how to make their computers function they way they want them to. I hope something like this conference is hosted by the Walker or something while I'm living in the Cities.

Because of the folks involved, it should come as no surprise that The Art of Play also has some great web design. While you're there, check out the way the background and menus move when you click on things and the little floating "Thank You to Our Sponsors" bubble. Now that's some quality web design!

There's also a gallery of innovative games listed in the Arcade link on the site, so head on over already and play with some art!

Naomi Alderman's Validation of Video Gaming

4 color rebellion is a spectacular source of interesting articles. Though it was posted toward the beginning of the month, I just got around to reading Naomi's article at The Guardian about the value of video games. Eminently argued, Naomi weaves a defense of the potential beauty of video games. Her writing is so much more cohesive that I can be, so I'll leave you to read on at your leisure.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Why it's taken me so long to discover Kongregate, I don't know. I've played plenty of games on it, but I never took the time to notice what was going on around the frame in which my game was loaded. Oh, the sorrows of being unobservant.

Kongregate isn't a game; it's a game hosting site. It’s a place where casual gamers can connect and where game developers can get together to share ideas and receive feedback from their audience. All this is wrapped in a candy shell that rewards the gamers for testing out the developers games.

Kongregate is, first and foremost, a site where developers can post their games and get them displayed to a wide audience. Games are rated by their audience. A rating system for games is nothing new. So what’s unique about Kongregate? To assist the game testers (read “flash game junkies”) game makers can program flags into their flash games that Kogregate reads. For example, if a game designer wants to get his players to thoroughly test a game, he or she can set up a flag that gets tripped when a player scores “100,000 points on hard mode". Once this flag gets tripped, the player’s account earns nice little badge that signifies they’ve achieve this mark. The badge is not saved in the particular game, it’s stored on the player’s Kongregate profile.

This system of rewarding a player’s account with badges is unique. It adds a reason to play some games longer than I otherwise would have. Why try to score 10 times more than my current average? Because the challenge is there!

Not only do you gain badges, a player’s account also gains experience points with each goal achieved. As you’re chatting with other players, they can see your level. Like badges, your level isn’t really good for anything except showing off how much of your life you’ve wasted making your dolphin do somersaults or how many zombies you’ve blown up. Like every seasoned RPG player out there knows, experience points are a nice impetus to continue playing. In the case of Kongregate, instead of gaining experience so you can beat that big side boss, you gain experience to show other Kongregators how many games you’ve tried out.

Get on over there and Kongregate with one of the largest and uniquely conceived communities of flash gamers on the Internet. Hove some fun! I’m sure you’ll find something to catch your interest.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spore Release Date Announced!


I've been waiting years for Spore. It's been in development since I was in college. I believe it was announced that Will Wright was to begin work on his opus sometime in 2001. When I first heard of Spore (then called "Sim Everything") I knew then it was going to be amazing. What I didn't know was the scope and depth that the subsequent 7 years of development would bring to the project.

Spore is what Mr. Wright's original title suggests: it's an everything simulator. The game is divided into many stages of a creature's evolution. You start out as a little single-celled organism. Through this fl0w-like initial sequence of eat or be eaten, you make your initial choices that guide the rest of your species' evolution.

From single cell to simple organism to tribal and community, your creatures grow. When the time comes, they even invent high technologies that allow you to leave your home planet and terra-form other worlds! The galaxy around your tiny home world is in part created by the millions of other players. In the end, the game becomes a sort of instanced MMO where you can destroy or set up intergalactic trade with the civilizations that everyone else has created.

In short, this game is going to be awesome. Check out some game play videos and browse around the official site for more info on this spectacular game.

September 7th couldn't come any quicker.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas

In regards to the creation of Marvelous Diversion, Derek and Alec's game Aquaria was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I'd long browsed the Internet for fabulous and captivating games and had been planning to start writing about them. When I first heard about Aquaria winning the grand prize at IGF this past year, I knew it was time to start disseminating news about my greatest finds. And so, along with the help of all the other wonderful independent games out there, Marvelous Diversion was born.

Well, now is the time to celebrate! On this snowy December day, Alec and Derek have announced that Aquaria will be released next Friday the 7th! Not only that, but every day until its release, we'll be getting an update on the bit-blot blog of screen shots, art, music, and chat with the creators! Capping it all off, we'll be getting a downloadable demo and be able to buy the game for $30 (US)! Woo hoo!

I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas. Are you?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A happy coincidence

There I was, making my nightly rounds on this big thing we like to call the "world wide web". And by "we", I mean "dorks". Most of us normal people call it the Internet.

In any case, I first played Kingdom of Loathing before it closed for nightly maintenance. Then I checked the weather for tomorrow and went on to check some websites and blogs I read regularly. I browsed the new pickings at and then stopped short after reading the first post on Since I just mentioned the Watchmen in my last post, I was more than surprised to find that a big screen adaptation is in the works for the classic graphic novel! How spectacular is that?

That was a rhetorical question. It's spectacular. Really spectacular. Check out the official blog for the Watchmen project here to track the movie's progress.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good things come in threes

So I’ve not posted anything in a long, long while.

I’ve been here for the most part, right where I usually sit, but three very important things have been preventing me from updating Marvelous Diversion.

Very Important Thing Number One: the TV show Heroes. A friend at work lent me the first season of this spectacular show. As always happens when I get my grubby little paws on a season of a great show, I tend to spend all of my time either watching or wishing I were watching it.

I’ve always loved comics. In recent years, many superhero movies and TV shows have been made, none of which has quite had the depth of NBC’s Heroes. Now that I’m all caught up, I can’t help comparing the first season to the classic graphic novel “The Watchmen”. While the first season had a more compelling storyline than the second thus far, I still can’t wait till next Monday night to find out what happens next. Yay for beautifully crafted TV!

Very important thing #2 was Final Fantasy 12 going on the cheap-o rack at Target. There I was, minding my own business, sifting through the pre-torn (distressed, they say) hoodies trying to find one that didn’t look like it came from the bottom of a dumpster. I didn’t have much luck in menswear, so I thought I might as well see if there was anything new on the video game bargain rack. Man, was that a good choice.

FF XII is a tie with FF VII for my favorite 3D final Fantasy. Introducing a lot of MMO elements and customizable AI for your party members, the twelfth installment in the glorious Final Fantasy series has been a joy to play. The only time I felt regret about any piece of the game was when, 25 hours in, I find out that I can’t get the ultimate weapon anymore because I opened a chest earlier in the game that I shouldn’t have. According to the walkthroughs, I’m a little more than halfway through right now and loving every minute. In any case, FF XII is the best 20 bucks I’ve spent in a while.

Thing Number Three was the release of a tiny little 2D platformer/open level editor by Nicklas Nygren, better know as Nifflas. You may have read my review of Nifflas and his amazing little platformers, Knytt and Within a Deep Forest. His newest game, Knytt Stories, came out a few weeks ago out and, until tonight, has been distracting me from updating this website. Check out the review by following the Games link above.

In any case, I should be back on track now. Let the regular updates recommence!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Casual gamers, beware of Peggle!

So, Zero Punctuation has been one of my favorite pieces of video game reporting since he started posting videos on The Escapist this past August. This installment in Yahtzee's reporting fits with the theme of this site, especially that of the last post. So, I decided to give you, my devoted readers(yes, you Jim), a permalink to the latest installment of Yahtzee's ranting. Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Shift of Paradigm

I know that there's a whole community of people out there looking for and reporting on cool video games that fit my criteria. I read a lot of blogs and gaming news sites out there in the vast expanse we call the "World Wide Web". And by "we", I mean lame-os. What surprised me was, a few weeks ago, my local newspaper ran an article on the "casual gamer" phenomenon. I'd read more than a few articles about the revolution that the Wii is bringing to the market, but I never imagined that there was a sizable enough group of frustrated gamers out there to warrant an article in a nationally syndicated paper regarding the downfall of the "simple" gaming experience and how there's a whole group of people out there creating meaningfully fun experiences for others.

Don't get me wrong. A complicated storyline and detailed character development in an RPG or the advanced tactical skills necessary to compete on are not what I and many have been frustrated with. There has always been a lot of crap out there, but with the graphics revolution has come a sad time for fluidity in games; for stories and game play to mesh harmoniously. What I've been looking for in a game is threefold: innovation, beauty, and simplicity.

Included in this article was a link to a game that exemplified all three of these qualities. Check out the Games link above for a full post on little game called "flOw". In this post, I'm really hear to direct your attention to an article in The Escapist entitled "A Childhood in Hyrule" that accurately captures quite a bit of why this decline has occurred; why games seem to have lost their depth at the same time their complexity and polygon count have gone up. The Escapist is a fabulous zine (I can't believe I just said zine...). Check out the other articles there while you're browsing too, but be sure to read June's cover story.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Aquaria on Linux

The good folks at have been so kind as to release an in-game show of the wonderfulness that is Aquaria. If you've been following bit-blot's blog, this is only the 3rd video that they've released for the game. It looks like it's getting more and more polished every day!

For those of you who havn't been following bit-blot too closely, Aquaria was scheduled for release June of 2007, but was delayed for polishing up and general final tweaking. It's going to be released for Windows, Mac OSX (courtesy of Ambrosia Software), and now it appears that there'll be a Linux version also!

Aquaria for all and all for Aquaria!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Post With the Most

Ever since the days of Gemstone III when it was hosted on AOL, I've been hooked on the MMORPG format for games. I played Gemstone III in all of its black-and-white, textular glory throughout my last years of middle school. Then it was on to Ultima and eventually Everquest the First. I played EQ for perhaps the longest of any of the massive online RPGs, starting my freshman year of college and ending shortly after I graduated.

So what's happening now? Am I continuing to turn the pages of Norrath's saga in Everquest II? Maybe questing through Azeroth with so many others in World of Warcraft? Or maybe just hanging out in Second Life?


I'm looking for something new. I'm looking for something innovative. I'm looking for the best of the best! And, well, let's face it: with my budget, I'm looking for something free! I've been on this kick ever since discovering a little game called Tibia back when Everquest started to lose its iron grip on me. There's a wonderful game somewhere out there that's completely free to try; perhaps even completely free to play forever. This game is amazing. It is the most marvelous diversion imaginable.

My search continues. In my sifting of the murky river that is the Internet, I've come up with a few flakes of gold. Some are completely free. Some are merely cheap. Some are neither cheap nor free, but I'm so excited about their eventual release that I will shell out twice (nay, three times!) what they're asking for them just so I can put a copy in my shrine to eternal awesomeness.

Since this is my first post, I think it's a good time to state my thesis. I'm here to disseminate news on fun games I've found online. OK, not just "fun" games, but truly amazing games. Deviating from this goal a bit, I'll be reporting on other interesting content that I find online, such as funny web comics and news on upcoming games and movies. Really, I'll be posting on anything that's interesting me at the moment. Along the way, I'll hopefully be releasing a few minor diversions that I've been working on in Flash. So, that's about it really.

Mill about. Browse the links. Enjoy.

If there appears to be not much happening, you've probably got a good impression of the state of the blog right now. I’m still adding stuff. There’ll be more to come in the next few days, so check back soon.