Friday, November 04, 2011

Win a Free Copy of Pixelh8's OCARBOT App

There are people that I respect, and then there are people of which I am instead unabashedly envious. Oddly enough, Matthew C. Applegate falls into both groups. Epic chiptune musician (under the moniker Pixelh8), lecturer, author, scholar and game developer: the guy pretty much does it all. Moreover, he does it all extremely well.

In addition to producing a number of clever music applications that my kids and I still play with regularly on the DS and Game Boy Advance, Pix has also recently expanding into mobile phone development. His Room 1 Studios has already released random visual music generators Sonus (One) and Sonus (Six), not to mention his own signature Pixelh8 MicroSynth – which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

And somehow, between his family duties and helping spark an interest among school children in technology and game development and earning his Master of Arts from the Centre for Design Innovation at University Campus Suffolk, Pix took time to crank out an addictive new iPhone title called OCARBOT. It plays a bit like his previous release 6x9 in that it's a cheery, retro-style puzzler with a deceptive level of depth and complexity. Like its predecessor, OCARBOT also relies heavily on a movement mechanic, but this time around Applegate has taken gameplay into a direction not really mined since the days of Donkey Kong and Miner 2049er.

Across 50 levels of puzzle adventure, you seek to navigate the titular robot – a block-mover by trade who's just discovered he's about to be replaced by a newer model – to freedom. You do so by controlling Ocarbot's straightforward two-plane movement, right-left and up-down, as well as employing his unique skill at pushing blinking blocks into conspicuous holes in the floors of his side-view mazes.

The trick is to get him safely to the exit without falling victim to an environmental hazard. And the key, of course, is planning ahead. The game oozes charm thanks as much to its simple but effective presentation as Pixelh8's own custom-composed soundtrack, and at the going rate of 99 cents it's kind of tough not to recommend it. I mean what are you playing on your phone now, anyway? Angry Birds? Still?! Sheesh!

So if you've got a buck and need a new weapon in your boredom-killing arsenal, pick it up. You're supporting both independent development and a member of our community, so it's a win-win.

And speaking of win, Matthew gave me 5 free download codes, which I'll be passing on to you, faithful readers. Just comment here at the blog, or give me a yell via Facebook/Twitter and I'll draw some random winners Monday.

Hipster, please!: your source for nerd news, reviews and interviews. And the occasional app giveaway.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Karl Effing Olson

My old pal Karl "Ultraklystron" Olson – Or is it nerdcore newcomer Karl "Ultraklystron" Olson? #bazinga – has a couple of interesting projects in the works. There's Rai's new full-length, which I've already discussed, and a new mixtape that I'll be talking up later this month.

For the time being, however, you are encouraged to check out the following videos. The first is a leak from Animatic entitled "Tap That Deck." Musically it's bright and brassy and fun, which is kinda textbook Karl. Lyrically, however, it’s a bit more of a departure. Not the techy innuendo, mind you; more the delivery itself, as his flow simultaneously seems to channel Weezy and Bubba Sparxxx.

Meanwhile, the second mines Karl's electronic roots. It combines Moombahton – a musical movement that will (hopefully) eclipse dubstep any day now – with Futurama's Dr. Zoidberg. It's sort of a just-for-shits-and-giggles-thing, and that suits me just fine.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 120: Occupy Elm Street

Apparently my superpower is riffing on current events for show titles. Or not; I mean, I often seem to overestimate my own cleverness.

Still, this one made me chuckle.

This year I had a little trouble rekindling my (historically abundant) Halloween spirit, but with the day finally upon us I am all up ins. Putting together this show certainly helped me get my ghoulish groove back, and I hope it provides and adequate soundtrack for your All Hallows activities.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 120: Occupy Elm Street [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 70.3 MB Running Time: 51:23 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Beef's got a new release that will also fit in well with your Halloween party playlist. Dig it!

Track 1: mc chris - "Time Warp"
mc's Columbia is downright uncanny.

Z's 1st interlude: "Part 2 of this year's Halloween Crap-tacular"
And with this one in the bag I gotta say I'm sad I have to wait another year to do it again.

Track 2: The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - "Ogdru Jahad"
It's strange to think that I've been listening to the Thickets for a decade and a half now.

Track 3: Backburner - "Phantom Ghost"
This one's for you, @HassanISahba.

Track 4: g4gorilla - "Bring Frankenstein Back to My Street"
Another great cut from this year's Texas Chainsaw Mashacre compilation.

Track 5: MC Frontalot - "Invasion of the Not Quite Dead"
Solved is a really eclectic album -- even from Frontalot, who tends to cast a wide sonic net. The harder edge of this joint is but a single example of its stylistic breadth.

Track 6: John Anealio - "Undead Love Song"
Just when I think I have John figured out he up and uses the word "cock" in a song!

Track 7: Saltlakrits - "Cupcakes in My Basement"
This one requires a bit of back-story, as helpfully supplied by @ChurchHTucker.

Z's 2nd interlude: "Backed up by a nice Castlevania-driven beat."
That soundtrack gets used and abused a lot, but Backburner sure as hell does right by it.

Track 8: Sticks Downey - "Night of the Demons"
I'm happy to see the Sticks Downey Halloween single is now an annual tradition.

Track 9: Buttery Lords - "Werewolf in a Waterpark"
Check out their Monster & Madness EP for more fun nor'western hippity-hop.

Track 10: The Efts - "Robot Destroy"
From the soundtrack of forthcoming social networking game Robot Destroy Club.

Track 11: The Doubleclicks - "Hollywood Raptor"
It's rather insulting to say that grown women are adorable, so I will instead specify that The Doubleclicks' music  -- particularly in the case of this song -- is adorable. And also awesome. Especially awesome!

Track 12: Humanoids - "Humanoid Eyes that Shine at Night"
Since I managed to incorporate a Darkest of the Hillside Thickets tune that wasn't strictly Lovecraftian, I thought this track filled that void nicely.

Z's final interlude: "Aren't they, y'know, infinitely more interesting?"
I mean who would you rather be: Blaster or Soundwave?!

Track 13: Jonathan Coulton - "Still Alive (feat. Sara Quin)"
Coulton's Artificial Heart is another recent release that's not to be missed.

It occurs to me that there are only four more shows left in 2011. How the fuck did that even happen?!

I'll not lie to you, folks; sometimes I consider retiring from the nerd grind, taking my leave content in the knowledge that there are a shit-ton of other geek culture rags out there to keep y'all satisfied. But when I look back at Hipster, please! and its related projects -- though admittedly they aren't exactly earth-shattering -- I feel a sense of pride in my accomplishments.

Moreover, no matter how big a pain in the ass things sometimes are, I still very much enjoy what I do. I hope this show and all its brothers and sisters are just as fun and entertaining to you as they are to me, and I always appreciate your requests, suggestions and input as I move my little industry forward.

Happy Halloween, all!