Placeholder Image

字幕表 動画を再生する

  • Let’s talk about Ballz.

  • Or is it pronounced Ball-zee?

  • Ah you know what I mean: BALLZ!

  • The spherically-focused fighting game with a testicular title from 1994.

  • Or maybe you don’t know what I mean; it’s not exactly the most widely-remembered property,

  • despite the chuckle-worthy name.

  • Nonetheless it’s pertinent to the topic at-hand because this was the first time developer

  • PF Magic revealed their balls to the world.

  • Each fighter was built using 2D spheres that mimicked 3D through a clever combination of

  • scaling, rotating, and animation.

  • The game itself only received a lukewarm reception, but the tech was fast and versatile, which

  • was notable at a time before mainstream 3D rendering hardware.

  • But how did this lead to making virtual pets?

  • Amusingly enough you have to look to Night Trap for that.

  • Rob Fulop, a designer at PF Magic, had worked on Night Trap and was really irked by the

  • negative media coverage the game was getting in regards to it 'ruining children' and such.

  • On retrospect he said, “the next game I made was going to be so cute and so adorable...

  • what's the cutest thing I could make?”

  • The answer came to him after talking to a mall Santa Claus that Christmas, because who

  • would know better what kids want than Jolly Old Saint Nick?

  • Santa replied, “the most popular thing that kids ask for every year is a puppy.

  • For the last 50 years! Ho ho ho!”

  • Combine that knowledge with the existing tech they had from the game Ballz,

  • and a winning idea was born.

  • Thanks, Santa!

  • That brings us to the 1995 computer game Dogz, providing puppies for the kids by expanding

  • on the graphics of Ballz, and continuing PF Magic’s tradition of avoiding S-based plurals.

  • Your Virtual Petz,” it says on the box.

  • That’s right, this is the first in what would become a long line of titles in the

  • Petz series, eventually becoming the property of Ubisoft who then made

  • 14,000 games for the Nintendo DS and such.

  • But back in 1995, Dogz was a trend-setter, being what PF Magic described as...

  • "the first computer pet, ever.

  • They live on your desktop, you adopt them as a little puppy,

  • and then you grow them up to be a full-grown dog.

  • You play with them their entire life."

  • Its combination of cute pets, novel interactivity, and an asking price of $20 proved irresistible

  • and in the days before Tamagotchi was even a thing the Petz series was a huge hit,

  • selling 1.5 million units in less than 3 years.

  • With the success of Dogz, the logical follow-up came in 1996 with Catz, altering the software

  • in feline ways, while also taking the opportunity to partner with

  • animal shelters to promote pet adoption...

  • "The San Francisco SPCA...

  • wants to save every cat.

  • PF Magic wants a home for all its digital Catz.

  • It's a win-win situation!"

  • PF Magic had a good thing going with Petz, but what was next?

  • Oddballz of course, another title from 1996, but one that

  • harkoned back to their ballzier roots.

  • It was still a virtual pet sim, but instead of domesticated mammals, you had weird alien

  • creatures and sci-fi machinery to play with.

  • And it is just as enjoyably quirky as it sounds.

  • This original trio of Petz programs is what well be looking at today, but let’s start

  • with Dogz and Catz first.

  • These particular programz begin with a menu that let you play with and adopt one of five

  • puppies or kittens, each of which has a unique set of traits that affect

  • how theyll respond to your commands.

  • Some will be naturally playful or hyper, others are curious or skittish, but for the most part

  • youre just choosing whichever one strikes you as the cutest.

  • Or you can take a "pup" quiz and let the game decide for you because

  • youre actually that predictable.

  • Choose your pet, give them a name, and from here youre given free reign to play.

  • And what does that enTAIL, you may ask?

  • Well, unlike many later virtual pet experiences, Dogz and Catz are more like activity centers

  • or desktop buddy programs, rather than fully-fledged games or simulations.

  • While they can be fed, watered, trained, groomed, and played with,

  • none of this is 100% vital to their survival.

  • In fact, don’t worry about survival at all since Petz can’t die,

  • even when they grow old.

  • Instead, your desktop is a totally safe play area for your animated dog or cat, and they

  • can’t be harmed in any way.

  • Well, unless you count painting them stupid colors, that’s arguably harmful.

  • But yeah, you can ignore pets for ages and theyll still be just as alive and happy

  • whenever you return.

  • This is in stark contrast to later games like Tamagotchi, where it was infamously easy to

  • have your pet die.

  • In fact, with the popularity of Tamagotchi in 1997, PF Magic started polling their players

  • on the topic of death, asking the questionShould Virtual Petz Die?”

  • The results were overwhelmingly against mortality in Petz, with an adorable set of responses.

  • Said Shelby O: “I'm 10 years old...

  • I don't think oddballz,dogz,or catz should die.

  • Although some poeple do need a touch of reality."

  • Says JeAnna B: “NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Don't kill my puppy!”

  • And says the wise W. Melvill: “I don't know

  • Hehehe, the entire page is worth reading, I’ll leave a link in the video description.

  • But yeah, no one’s being sent to the farm here, so just click around at your leisure

  • and have some wholesome fun with your virtual friend.

  • A friend that’s made up largely of spherical sprites by the way, the same kind of method

  • used in PF Magic’s ill-fated Ballz.

  • I think it’s used to greater effect here though, presenting more as solid creatures

  • than loosely-connected orbs.

  • Anyway, your mouse cursor acts as your hand, letting you pet them, pick them up, call them,

  • and interact with any on-screen items.

  • Pets are constantly aware of your mouse hand too, reacting to it even when youre not

  • clicking on anything, providing a sense of awareness to your petz that’s adorably convincing.

  • Additionally you have an array of toys and treats to choose from, each of which can be

  • clicked and dragged into the play area.

  • Dogs have things like shoes to chew, balls to play fetch with, and bones to gobble up,

  • and cats have even more, including catnip, yarn, brushes,

  • bouncy toys, and cheese to entice mice.

  • Your pets can also be gently scolded using a spray bottle, or given food, water, and

  • treats to improve their mood and encourage certain behavior.

  • For instance if they do a trick, give them a treat, and their AI will learn from that

  • and seek to do more tricks.

  • It’s also possible to play with your pets on top of other applications, even if this

  • really just freezes the background program to use as a static wallpaper.

  • You can also let your pets play around in a smaller window while you do something else,

  • although it’s the reverse issue here where you can’t interact with them until you switch

  • back to the program.

  • You can also use Petz as a password-protected screensaver to guard your computer with cuteness.

  • It’s non-interactive of course, but it’s a nice little addition for the mid-90s when

  • more people still cared about unique screensavers.

  • And finally, you can also snap a photo and save it as a small bitmap file, which you

  • were then encouraged to share on the PF Magic website.

  • This sharing of content was pushed even further through the Dogz and Catzadoption kit,”

  • which is really just a demo version.

  • The idea here is that you’d share the program on floppy disks, or just spread copies online,

  • with the goal being that players would get attached to the pet they adopted and feel

  • compelled to pony up the $20 to activate it with PF Magic.

  • This was actually pretty devious because, if you refused to pay, the program would say how

  • heartbroken the dogs would be that you didn’t love them and were abandoning them,

  • followed by sad sound effects...

  • *puppy whining and yelping*

  • Geez, talk about a hard sell.

  • And then we come to Oddballz, which is probably the weirdest entry in the series -- well,

  • at least until Babyz came along some years later buuuuut that’s another topic entirely.

  • Anyway, Oddballz is understandably an odd one, where instead of adopting puppies and

  • kittens, youre hatching trippy creatures from multi-colored eggs.

  • Each one of them is thoroughly unique, with appendages, proboscises, and body shapes that

  • run the gamut from endearing to unsettling.

  • Then youre provided an assorted of fantastical resources to play with, some of which result

  • in the cataclysmic destruction of your Oddball...

  • *BOOM, SPLAT, BOING*

  • well, temporary destruction, it’s all played up for laughs.

  • Youve got items for shrinking, pulverizing, gravity-altering, dancing, and just going

  • off the rails with lighthearted fun.

  • My favorite has to be the transformer ray, which completely alters their physical form

  • and gives them an entirely new existence for a bit.

  • It also sometimes blows them up, and if their eyeballs fall out just

  • plop them back into place like nothing happened.

  • Oddballz also introduced a collecting mechanic to the series, where you’d accrue more monsters

  • by going online and registering to download more.

  • For free, imagine that!

  • Ah what a neat little thing this was.

  • It’s still the same basic idea as Dogz and Catz, but Oddballz went nuts with the creatures

  • and takes the idea of a pet sim to a silly extreme that I enjoy.

  • And seeing as digital monster collecting was about to become huge due to Pokemon and the like,

  • I’m surprised they didn’t capitalize on it with an Oddballz sequel.

  • But I’m glad we got what we did, and it’s still enjoyable to go back to some of the

  • earliest virtual pet titles like this.

  • Sure, the Petz series got sequel-ized and cloned to death in later years so it may not

  • seem particularly special now.

  • But I hope that, like me, you at least enjoyed revisiting one of the most noteworthy starting

  • points of the virtual pet trend and its bouncy globular roots.

  • And hey let me know in the comments some of your experience with the Petz series,

  • or virtual pet games in general. I find subjects like this

  • pretty darn fascinating. And if you do as well then

  • you might like some of my other videos. There are new ones every Monday and Friday here on LGR!

  • And as always, thank you very much for watching!

Let’s talk about Ballz.

字幕と単語

動画の操作 ここで「動画」の調整と「字幕」の表示を設定することができます

B1 中級

LGR - Catz, Dogz, & Oddballz.ペッツ回顧録 (LGR - Catz, Dogz, & Oddballz: Petz Retrospective)

  • 2 0
    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
動画の中の単語