Whatever Happened to LAN Parties?If you were an avid gamer in the 1990s and 2000s, you no doubt fondly recall LAN parties. LAN stood for local area network. See, video games entered the internet early, but in the early days, connections were difficult and expensive. My first internet connection required dialing up a long-distance server, which meant long-distance phone rates. The internet itself charged by the minute, too. Even when local service became available, it still meant tying up the family phone, and later DSL was still pretty janky and got throttled often. So LAN parties were the way gamers got together and played each other in groups. Sure, you had to haul your computer equipment out and hook them all together. Those were heavy setups, but the parties themselves were a good time. An entire culture grew out of LAN parties, remnants of which we still recognize today, in the music and entertainment that was shared, and the memes that became historic. While computers got smaller and easier to carry, doing so became unnecessary as networks and accessibility improved. Read about the rise and fall of LAN parties in an excerpt from the book LAN Party by Merritt K at Aftermath. -via Kottke ​(Image credit: Knacker) 
Super Mario Maker's Trimming the Herbs is Not What It SeemedThe Super Mario Maker online community had only one "unbeatable" level of play left, and time was running out before Nintendo's shutdown of the Wii U's online servers o April 8, and someone finally beat it. The level was called Trimming the Herbs, or TTH. With just a couple of days to go, player sanyx91smm2 beat TTH. Yay! You can see from the video above that it's just insane, even though play is less than 30 seconds long.But with all the accolades for sanyx91smm2, game developer Ahoyo had received praise for years, because he was the one who designed TTH back in 2017. Around a month ago, it was revealed that Ahoyo bypassed the rules for Super Mario Maker and created the level with the assistance of an automated tool-assisted speedrun (TAS) technique, and did not label the level as such. The admission rocked the online gaming world, and Trimming the Herbs was disqualified as the last level of Super Mario Maker. Yet because it was such a difficult challenge, players still tried to beat it, and Sanyx finally did it. So what happened back in 2017 that got TTH designated as the hardest level? Ahoyo tells the story of how it happened at Ars Technica. Sure, there were reasons for using TAS, but not labeling it as such was an egregious move that went unnoticed for seven years.
The Official Story Trailer for Star Wars OutlawsThe newest Star Wars game, Star Wars Outlaws, will launch on August 30th. Between now and then, you'll have a blizzard of teasers, reviews, and news about it. The story takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which was about two days in-universe, or about three years for those of us waiting for the third movie in the 1980s. However, it's just a point in time; this is peripheral adventure, happening right under the noses of Jabba the Hutt and the Empire. Considering its Lucasfilm and Ubisoft, you can imagine the cynicism of the YouTube comments accompanying this story trailer. But hey, we might be pleasantly surprised! Learn more details about Star Wars Outlaws at Game Rant. -via The Awesomer​
Would You Like to Try the Original Final Fantasy VII? Final Fantasy VII made such an impression when it was released in 1997 that it changed the way games are played. Its legacy led us to Final Fantasy VII Remake in 2020 and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, which you've been playing non-stop for a month now. But if you are under, say, 40, or are relatively new to gaming, you might be curious about the original Final Fantasy VII. It's still readily available, in quite a few versions, but the trick is putting yourself in the place of a 1997 gamer. There will be a lot of features you are used to that aren't there, and a lot of tips and hacks that took that generation years to figure out. You can skip a lot of confusion with a handy guide to the original Final Fantasy VII from Den of Geek. First, you need to sort through which version you want to start with, depending on what console you have and where you can get a copy of the game. Each version has its quirks, and you'll want to know the stories behind them. And customary game play was a bit different in 1997, so you'll need some warnings. But once you get into the groove, playing the original will give you a deeper understanding of the Final Fantasy universe and an appreciation for the newer games that Final Fantasy VII spawned. Then it will dawn on you that there was a Final Fantasy I, II, III, and so on that you might want to explore, too. That should keep you busy for the next year or so.
Duelin' Firemen! The Bizarre Lost Game of the 1990sA full-motion video game called Duelin' Firemen! was in development at RUNANDGUN! Studios in 1994 and '95, but was never released, and hardly ever mentioned again. This game left its legacy in some clips of the production footage that were resurrected and compiled into a video that escaped the studio in 1996 and was titled Duelin' Firemen! Sundance Trailer. It made the internet in 2001, and has become legendary in its bizarreness. Although the story was supposedly set in Chicago, the opening scene in which two planes (one of them a space shuttle) hit a skyscraper and start a fire is rather eerie, especially considering it was filmed years before 9/11. But rather than a disaster, the event turns into a dance party, with special appearances by Timothy Leary, Rudy Ray Moore, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Tony Hawk. You might even recognize some other actors if you were around in the mid-'90s. It's really weird, and brings up more questions about the game, like why doesn't anyone feel the danger in a burning skyscraper? What's the party for? And why are the firemen dueling? What's the point of the game? And how was it supposed to be played? Don't bother yourself trying to answer any of those questions, because no one knows the answers. -via Metafilter​
What They're Saying About Suicide Squad’s Joker SeasonIf you jumped on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League season one featuring the Joker when it was released a couple of days ago, and found yourself confused, disappointed, or upset, you are not alone. Anger with the Rocksteady game has been floating in from every corner of the internet. So what's the problem? Well, it's not just one problem.