Thank you Ambrosia Software
Let me start this by saying this is not going to be a review. Reviews imply balance, and this has none.
Let me also say that creating an original game is hard. First, on a certain level, you're always going to be copying someone. There's not a lot of new territory out there. FPS's, orthogonal, you name it, someone's done it. So true originality is hard. So hard that it's "seeing a gang of Andean Condors" rare.
But every once in a while, someone does something that, while incorporating other ideas, is still original. It's rare, but it happens. Even rarer is when you find a game that's just...perfect. That hasn't sacrificed fun to the false gods of graphics quality. That hasn't forgotten that you should enjoy playing the game. That doesn't make you have to use liquid cooling just to play it at a decent speed. This is rarer still.
However, with SketchFighter 4000 Alpha, Ambrosia has gone beyond all that. They've gone and created a game that is a delight on every possible level. Even more than that, SketchFighter actually managed to give me back a part of my childhood that I thought was gone forever in this day and age of tech.
See, you have to understand, when the Apple I came out, I was ten. Computers in schools didn't happen until really, almost my senior year. We had to go to video game arcades to play computer games. However, we did manage to have space battles. Great big ones. Well, as big as a legal pad, because that's where they happened. Armed with different colors of Pilot ball pens, and legal pads, we'd sketch out hideously complicated battlefields, then spend hours trying to navigate them. We had a rules system so arcane that it would drive modern gamers insane, and it was rigidly turn-based. But it was fun, dear god, it was fun. We'd play for hours, end up with more ink on our hands than a clumsy pressman, and get excoriated by teachers because we were having space battles instead of studying.
No moving graphics. No computers at all. Just kids, pens, paper, and imagination. It took so long to set up our worlds, and almost no time to destroy them. We loved it. Every ink-stained second of it.
I know it's hard to imagine this being something fun with the kinds of games on computers today. How can I even compare things like hand - drawn space games to Oblivion or Neverwinter Nights? I can only say that our hand-drawn battles were fun. We didn't do them to show off our artistic ability. We played because they were fun. That's something that most game houses don't care about. It's not about graphics and frame rates and polygons and shading. It's about fun. Ambrosia may be the only game house that can come out, year after year with games that may not be the ultimate in tech, are just fun as hell to play. (Which is why I say the Mac isn't a gaming machine. But damn, it is a fun machine, more so than any other platform.)
Harry the Handsome Executive.
EV Nova. (Talk about digital crack)
and now SketchFighter 4000 Alpha.
It's got local multiplayer, internet play and a level designer. But most of all, it's one of the first games in a long time that I can honestly, and with all sincerity say is a delight to play.
So thank you Andrew Welch and everyone at Ambrosia...
Thanks for giving me back one of the parts of my childhood worth keeping.