Indie coder Bennett Foddy has already made a name for himself with left-field releases like QWOP and Pole Riders, but his latest effort - produced in collaboration with AP Thomson - is perhaps his most charmingly ridiculous yet.
Multibowl! takes inspiration from the likes of NES Remix and WarioWare by presenting the player with quick-fire mini games which each feature a particular objective. While WarioWare included snippets of classic Nintendo titles such as Zelda, F-Zero and Mario Clash, Multibowl! gleefully pillages the history of the games industry by cherry-picking games from the libraries of Data East, Activision, SNK and even Nintendo to present a two-player gaming "collage".
Each title is limited to a maximum of 30 seconds of gameplay and has a competitive focus, with the player who completes the objective first getting a point. The database contains 220 games - including Super Mario Kart, Wild Guns and Excitebike - and is based on MAME (Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator) and MESS (Multi-Emulator Super System), two emulation projects which recently joined forces to create one massive codebase.
So far the game has only been shown off at public events such as Wild Rumpus in London, Fantastic Arcade in Austin and XOXO in Portland, and Foddy and Thomson are adamant that it will not be released in any other form - even as a free-of-charge download.
It's something that we're having for festivals and events and museum shows, and for the odd streamer. We would not make it available to the public. That's just sort of how it has to be.
As somebody who's been interested in the historical side of games for a long time, that's just a horrible part of trying to play things that are on dated hardware. It got me thinking when they joined these things together that maybe you could have a kind of curated set of games that were already set up.
It's a cool game in its own right, albeit one that's made up of other games. It is its own thing, partially under the condition that its victory conditions are not the same as they were in the original games. So it's kind of repurposing games. It's kind of changing them in a collage-y way. So that I think is sufficient justification in its own right, even if it's something that can never have a wide release and can never make any money.
But also it's a nice historical piece. I always worry about good games from history, especially lesser known ones, just sort of being erased from the cultural record because it gets much harder to play old video games than it is to play an old record or look at an old painting. It's like a way to get a little glimpse of a game without having to go through all the process of learning it.
Seeing Multibowl! in action really makes us want Nintendo to revisit this concept again in the future - perhaps a new "Remix" title which pulls together titles from its entire history, not just ones limited to particular formats. We also think the WarioWare series is long overdue a new mainline offering. What about you?