Giraffes in space
December 16, 2008 12:58 AM   Subscribe

Christmas is turning out to be good for lovers of weird animal games: Hot on the heels of Minotaur China Shop comes the PC release of Space Giraffe (video), updated from its previous XBox-360-only incarnation (briefly mentioned here) with new levels & upgraded graphics.
posted by slater (16 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
From Llamasoft, as I expected. Founded in 1982 by Jeff Minter. I have fond memories of playing mutant camel shoot-em-ups on my Commodore 64 when I was little.
posted by Harald74 at 1:19 AM on December 16, 2008

Space giraffe is probably the single most contraversial game on the Xbox360 I've ever seen, and really whether you love it or hate it stems upon one important question: do you feel the need to see the game that you are playing? If the answer to this is "yes", the xbox version of sg is not for you (tho i hear the pc version has a mode where you can awlays see it :)), if you say "no, i am happy to navigate on sound", then it will be the most awesome game you've ever played.

I'm in the latter category, of course! Also, it really is not anything like tempest.
posted by jaymzjulian at 2:13 AM on December 16, 2008

This is an insult to the noble temperament of the giraffe.
posted by giraffe at 3:56 AM on December 16, 2008

I hear there's ruminants on the minternets
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:59 AM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

Go buy this! I love it on my Xbox 360. It's definitely hateable, in the way that industrial noise music or experimental film is hateable. But it's also interesting and fun and awfully cool. $20 on the PC, worth it.
posted by Nelson at 7:12 AM on December 16, 2008

it really is not anything like tempest

Hmmm, perhaps a smidgen?
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:46 AM on December 16, 2008

Blarg! Sorry!

No, This smidgen!
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:47 AM on December 16, 2008

I am eagerly anticipating being next to a Windows machine again in the next couple of weeks so I can finish paying Yak for the amount of entertainment I got out of the 360 release! And I haven't even gotten to level 100 yet. Having a less-cataclysmic level of visuals will only be a bonus; now maybe my boyfriends, who are not support systems for a visual cortex, will be able to enjoy it, too.

As to 'not like Tempest'... it is, and it isn't. I like to describe it as a modern game from an alternate universe where Tempest became the popular and widespread "tube-shooter" genre the way Doom became the popular and widespread "first-person shooter" genre; this is that universe's analog to Half-Life 2. Sure, it's still built around dancing on the edge of a tube and shooting things; it's got some of the same enemy behaviors that have been around since the genre was invented - but it's got a bunch of new elements layered on top of that, and it's executed with a lot more CPU and GPU power than the original ever dreamt of.
posted by egypturnash at 9:25 AM on December 16, 2008

I have a weird relationship with SG - on the one hand the game itself is one of the best shooter/arcadey things I've played in years. When it first came out on the 360 I put hours into it, bought it a second time when my 360 died, and was the proud bearer of a Long-Necked Long March achievement (for finishing all 100 levels in one go without a game over).

You know what kills it for me to the point where I've not touched the thing for months? The actual sounds Minter chose. At first I could sort of put up with them, but they've come to drive me mental. I am 100% on board for distinct, clear sonic cues for enemies etc, and for almost being able to play the game by that alone. Fantastic idea. But looping Python samples? Over-loud farm animal noises that can play tens of times on top of each other in the space of a second or so? Certain bits of the sound are great - the distinct tinkly smash noises for the ball things, the plink-plonks that tell you exactly how far up the grid a flower has grown - but the others just make me cringe and put the pad down, and that's death for a score-chasing game. It's nice for those who got a headache from the graphics that the PC version has a less-trippy mode, but I'd happily stick £13 down right now for a version with bearable sound.
posted by terpsichoria at 10:07 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Awesome, I got to try the demo at my friends house last year on the 360, alas I had no acid to play with as well.

It was an amazing experience. I can't wait to try it on the the PC. I'm not gonna use the NUXX mode, though. Straight up psychedelia for me. And I might just partake of some sacremental chems beforehand! :D :D :D
posted by symbioid at 10:47 AM on December 16, 2008

This game is terrible. I played the demo, and the gameplay is ok, but the graphics and sound are simply painful. It is very difficult to see what you are doing over the glow and explosions and particle systems from everything. I'm not clear if this is supposed to increase difficulty or what, but it is extremely frustrating. The sounds, as tersichoria said, are horrible. Every time the phone ring sound effect goes off, I know that either the game testers were insane, or Mitner didn't listen to them.

I can't understand the people who say it's not like Tempest. It's very much Tempest with extra stuff. There's nothing wrong with Tempest, but I don't want to play it with strobe lights and glow sticks while three sound effects CD collections are playing simultaneously.
posted by demiurge at 10:48 AM on December 16, 2008

Space Giraffe is not like Tempest.

It's like Tempest 2000. But better.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:26 PM on December 16, 2008

Yeah the video looks exactly like Tempest 2000 with farm animal sounds.

Not that I'm complaining.
posted by cavalier at 1:00 PM on December 16, 2008

Space Giraffe is definitely more like Tempest than it is like Asteroids, say, or Tetris or Doom or something. But it's not just a Tempest retread. The details of the gameplay are quite different, particularly if you play for score. And more importantly the graphics and sound are heavily different. Like someone took the brightly coloured vector graphics of 1980 and heavily, intensely pushed them through a bunch of texture filters and adjustments.

The resulting graphics and sound are a marvel. They're confusing, headache inducing, and intensely distracting. But they're meant to be that way and they're quite brilliant. The confusion is part of the game, particularly in the tour-de-force level 64 where the graphics and controls go all fucked up and the only possible way to get through it is to rely on your ears, luck, and sheer instinct.

I totally understand why people hate the game. It's not exactly lovable. But it is brilliant and unique and totally worth your $20.
posted by Nelson at 1:52 PM on December 16, 2008

Meant to add: Llamasoft's Level 63 walkthrough video is a good way to get a taste of the game in its later, more florid stages. The neat thing is if you play the game enough to get to this level, what's going on with the sound, graphics, and controls actually makes sense to you.
posted by Nelson at 1:55 PM on December 16, 2008

Space giraffe has pretty much the opposite goal to tempest, which is that you need to NOT shoot things. If you play it like tempest, you will score incredibly low, and pretty much fail at most of the game.

It LOOKS like tempest, sure, but that's like saying that Mario64 LOOKS like quake because it's a 3d textured polygon game. It's technically accurate, but completly misses the point

Also, I love the sound effects.
posted by jaymzjulian at 10:36 PM on December 16, 2008

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