Sawbuck Gamer


The Internet Eats Its Young

Chunkadelic remixes the classics. Can you get to that?

By Matt Kodner • July 24, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Starting a game of Chunkadelic is like putting money into a jukebox that has all the labels scratched off. There is a general idea of what song you’re about to get, but you can’t be entirely sure until the disc starts spinning. Chevy Ray and Noel Berry’s retro procession weaves in and out of nine simple games, remade with a bright schizophrenic aesthetic. Shown a batch of nine thumbnails just once, you pick one as your starting point, playing through classics that range from a straightforward take on Asteroids to a frustrating riff on Super Mario.

It’s manic from the get-go, giving no instructions other the implied use of the arrow keys. Whether you win or not, you are thrust onward into the next game, chosen at random. There are no re-dos or second chances.

However, getting through a stage does have its rewards. Chunkadelic subtly bleeds the games into each other as you play. The neon-colored Duck Hunt ducks might fly to-and-fro during a frantic Mega-Man boss battle. The game could use more free-associative touches like this, but given its completion in just two days at Vancouver’s Full Indie Game Jam last month, Chunkadelic is still a compelling little blip with a difficulty that invites multiple playthroughs.

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85 Responses to “The Internet Eats Its Young”

  1. George_Liquor says:

    Neat mashup. Kinda reminds me of ROM check fail.

    • doyourealize says:

      I knew there was another game like this, and I knew I could count on someone here to remind me of the name. Makes sense that it’s the first commenter.

  2. Merve says:

    This is kind of entertaining for a few minutes, but the controls in some of the games (especially the Mario riff) are ridiculous. Tapping left-right as fast as possible to run doesn’t seem optimal.

    • Limeade Youth says:

      I thought the left right running game was a riff on Track & Field. Controls were notoriously bad.

      • Merve says:

        Oh, that’s what it was. Sorry, I was just going by what it said in Kodner’s piece. (Unless another one of the games is the “frustrating riff on Super Mario.)

        • Matt Kodner says:

          Ah! Because of the pipes, that’s what I thought it was when I first played it, and then I saw another writer refer to it as a take on SM Bros. But I feel like I could definitely be wrong here!

          I think that level’s joke works either way? Hrn

  3. bunnyvision says:

    Fun idea. Doesn’t go nearly far enough though – the games aren’t really riffs on the originals, just straight up recreations. The ducks in the background of Mega Man are a promising start to mixing up and re-contextualizing iconic games, but this is pretty straightforward.

    Also: the Mega Man and City Connection games are easily the best developed. Most of the other games are pretty barebones.